E. London Interfaith Groups Celebrate Olympics, Ramadan

    Brian Padden
    LONDON — In East London near the main Olympic park, Britain's largest civil society organization recently held an interfaith Ramadan celebration with an Olympic theme.  The event focused both on the Olympic tradition of peace and the positive economic impact the games are having on one of the city's most ethnically diverse areas.

    In East London's York Hall, the United Kingdom's largest civil society organization, Citizens UK, organized an Iftar, the evening meal following a day of fasting during Ramadan.  The group has been involved with the London Olympics Organizing Committee and came in part to celebrate the impact the Olympics are having on the community where the main stadiums have been constructed.

    The group successfully advocated for a living wage of at least $12 an hour for everyone working at London Olympics jobs, as well as Olympic funding for local schools, hospitals and new affordable housing.

    Neil Jameson, the director of Citizens UK says the involvement of the East London Mosque was essential in ensuring the economic development of this ethnically diverse area of the city.

    "The East London Mosque is the largest civil society organization in London, 10,000 people worship there.  So we are them, effectively, and tonight we break the fast - non-Muslims and Muslims together - because that makes for a peaceful world and a peaceful Olympics," said Jameson.

    Muhammad Bari, the chairman of the mosque, says in addition to the economic benefit the games are bringing to the area, the peaceful competition aspect of the Olympics has special meaning during Ramadan.

    "They want to achieve the highest," said Bari.  "So there is a healthy competition. There is harmony. There is less politics in it. So in a way it has been a superb and useful experience for people of London and the whole of Britain."

    At sundown the Muslim men gather at the back of the hall for the evening prayer, and after a long day of fasting they all share a meal.

    Local field hockey player Darren Cheesman, who missed playing in the Olympics because of injury, says he can see the positive influence the Olympics is having in East London.

    "So for me everything that is going on here is a direct kind of impact on what I do in my personal life, so yeah, it's great as an athlete to know that this is the first ethical kind of Olympics, but it is also great to understand that that's going to have a legacy on our community as well," said Cheesman.

    Cheesman says the Olympics has helped bring East London residents of all faiths and ethnicities together, to use the games to work for the common good.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora