Open Iftar returns to where it all began: SOAS

Open Iftar, a grassroots initiative fostering community through shared meals during Ramadan, marked its 11th anniversary with a gathering at SOAS University of London, where it all began.   

Established by Omar Salha in 2013 – a SOAS student at the time studying an MA International Studies and Diplomacy – Open Iftar has grown into a nationally renowned event, uniting people from diverse backgrounds in the spirit of generosity and togetherness. As sunset approached, fasting Muslims and company came together to break their fast in Senate House’s Paul Webley Wing, SOAS. 

Another Open Iftar will be held at SOAS today, in the Atrium of Senate House, SOAS.  

Senate House’s Atrium fills with visitors. Photo credits: Omar Salha @o_salha on Twitter/X

The project has hosted events across the UK, covering cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Dundee, Belfast and London. Notable venues have hosted these Iftars include Battersea Power Station, V&A Dundee, Belfast City Hall, and the British Library just to name a few.  

Omar Salha, alum of SOAS and founder of the Open Iftar (the flagship initiative of the Ramadan Tent Project) said in his Tweet: 

“Heartwarming to be back where it all started 11 years ago at SOAS! Especially poignant with this year’s theme of #heritage. Incredibly proud to witness the remarkable growth of [the Ramadan Tent Project] & the power of bringing communities together through Open Iftar every Ramadan.” 

Another user replied saying: "What a journey- I remember the early days on the SOAS lawn and later Malet Street Gardens!” - @SaiamUK on Twitter/X. 

I remember covering the first #ramadan tent iftar @SOAS great to see how incredibly the initiative has grown over the last 11 years!” said BBC Journalist, Yasmin Khatun Dewan (@Yasm1nK on Twitter/X). 

Attendees gather and wait to break their fasts. Photo credits: Omar Salha @o_salha on Twitter/X.