The holy month of Ramadan starts on 23rd March and is a time of fasting and prayer for millions of Muslims across the world.
It is normal for Muslims to forego eating and drinking, as well as sexual activity from sunrise to sunset. In the evening for Iftar, Muslim families will break their fast, often with milk and dates, before sitting down for a family meal.
During this time, Muslims will still go to work, they will still meet with friends and participate in every aspect of public life.
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What can you do to support your Muslim friends during this time?
Journalist Shafi Musaddique has a few words of advice.
1 Talking is freeing
"[Friends and colleagues] can support you by freely asking questions, because while it’s something personal, I also don't like it being a secret. Ramadan is all about sharing - and that goes for emotional support. Most offices will probably have one or two Muslims at most, so having others to talk to about it is really important. I felt so happy after talking about it with a colleague yesterday. I felt valued."
2. Don’t make tone-deaf jokes
"Don't make stupid jokes on 'shall I tempt you with food.' We're not five and at school anymore."
3. Enquire about your friend's well being
"Asking how we're feeling. Because we'll probably be tired by noon."
4. If you're an employer with Muslim staff, give the option to work from home
"Giving the option to work from home or change work times, or even advocate for taking time off. It’s SO important to have that, especially from a boss. Again, I feel liberated by the fact my boss has said I can work from home and understands."
5. A little research doesn’t hurt
"Google is free. No question is stupid, but the phrase "what, even water too????" is a little tiring in 2018. The UK knows a little more about Ramadan now than those in 1970."
6. Attend an Iftar dinner
"They're full of delicious food!"
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