Five ways the West has embraced Ramadan 2023

Five ways the West has embraced Ramadan 2023
Several new Western initiatives are marking Ramadan this year. The New Arab compiled a list of five British, European and American acknowledgements of, and tributes to, the holy month. Take a look!
5 min read
25 March, 2023
British Muslims said London's Ramadan lights brought them 'joy' [Getty]

Many Muslims in the West have long been subject to prejudice and a struggle in finding true or complete acceptance of their faith in the countries they reside in.

Even so, many have praised Western initiatives, corporations and public figures for embracing Ramadan this year through their practices or public statements.

Ramadan, which began on Thursday, sees Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset daily before celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the holiday which marks the end of the holy month.

The New Arab have compiled a list of five British, European and American acknowledgements of and tributes to the holy month. Take a look!

Grand Ramadan lights illuminate London in Europe first

Ramadan lights illuminated one of London's Piccadilly Circus on Tuesday night, when they were switched on by the city's Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.

The initiative, by Ramadan Lights UK, marked the first time a European city had celebrated the holy Islamic month this way, according to Khan.

The installation features 30,000 sustainable lights depicting phases of the moon. The Islamic calendar - and thus the dates the month of Ramadan fall on - is based upon lunar cycles.

"It's a beautiful message to say like, we see you. You are here and... this is your home. Wherever your background is from, this is your other home," Soukaina Ichanti, who visited the installation, told The New Arab.  

British Muslims said on Twitter that the lights gave a sense of "joy" and "solidarity" while allowing other people in the UK to join in the festivities.

Disney celebrate Ramadan for first time, Western corporate organisations mark month

Disney celebrate Ramadan
Disney celebrate Ramadan [Disney]

Western corporations, including American multinational entertainment conglomerate Disney, say they have embraced the month of Ramadan within their business.

For the first time in its 100-year history, Disney launched a 'Ramadan Celebration Month' initiative, with which they say they will be "shining a light on Muslim employees, consumers and fans around the world".

"Seeing the company-wide activations Disney has deployed to celebrate Ramadan brings tears to my eyes," Mahin Ibrahim, director of RISE Creative Talent Pathways at The Walt Disney Studios said in a statement.

The company invited its viewers to celebrate Ramadan by highlighting its stories featuring Muslim characters including its Marvel series and American Eid.

Streaming giant Netflix has also listed Ramadan series 'The Exchange' on its film platform, which Netflix MENA highlighted across its social media.

In the realm of beauty, MAC Cosmetics shared an edit including makeup and skincare products "designed to keep your skin glowing throughout the fasting season".

Activists referenced various companies' efforts to embrace Ramadan, labelling them "beautiful".

Sports accommodate Ramadan needs of Muslim players, fans

The Western sports industry has seen considerations made for sports stars and fans participating in Ramadan.

British match officials have been issued with guidance from refereeing bodies to pause games to allow fasting Premier League footballers to break their fast, according to Sky News.

Some of Britain's best footballers, including Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, are expected to fast during the holy Islamic month.

In the US, the Chicago Cubs have also displayed a Ramadan sign on their home ground's turf, drawing praise from the state's Muslim community, according to the Council of Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago.

Royals, governments, celebrities share Ramadan well wishes 

Big names across the public sphere have released statements wishing Muslims 'Ramadan Mubarak' - an Arabic phrase that translates as 'Blessed Ramadan'.

From the British Royal Family to Western politicians, sports stars and other well-known figures, many well wishes for the holy month have been shared.

The Royal Family wished "Muslims in the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world a blessed and peaceful Ramadan".

Canadian President Justin Trudeau also released a one-minute video statement, sending his "warmest wishes" to the Muslim community.

"Whether you give to charity, volunteer at your mosque or care for the vulnerable, you are strengthening our communities, so thank you," Trudeau said, acknowledging some of the deeds Muslims choose to do during the holy month.

US President Joe Biden and UN Chief Antonio Guterres also participated in the well-wishes, as did football legend Cristiano Ronaldo and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Iftar tents open across the UK

The Ramadan Tent Project will be hosting Iftars every night this Ramadan across different UK cities as part of their flagship initiative 'Open Iftar UK'.

Celebrating their 10th year anniversary, their tents will be placed in some of London's most famous locations, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Stadium.

They will also be heading to other UK cities including Manchester, Bradford, Brighton, Sheffield and Cambridge.

The project say they have connected over 500,000 people across the country since 2013.