A Ramadan tent set up by the Emirates Red Crescent in the Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Residents from all walks of life, nationalities, cultures and religions are coming together as one community in Abu Dhabi as they break their fast in iftar tents set up across the city.

Organised by the Emirates Red Crescent, the white iftar tents are opened every year during the month of Ramadan, providing free meals to anyone who visits. The free iftars are held everyday during the holy month, with the tents able to accommodate up to 300 people.

“I come and break my fasts at the iftar tents every year during Ramadan, I like the community spirit of these gatherings, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, everybody is welcome to join,” said Jawad Abdul, an Indian resident who was breaking his fast at one of the iftar tents in downtown Abu Dhabi.

“We are all so thankful for this initiative, it’s amazing that the organisers do this every day for free and out of their own expenses, it shows the true Ramadan spirit here in the UAE and how everyone wants to do what they can to help one another,” he added.

Ian Jim Pacana, from the Philippines, was also visiting the tent along with his nephew Zik, whom he brought for the first time to experience an iftar tent.

“I have been coming for a long time but I decided to bring my young nephew with me so he can see what it’s like. It’s a very good educational experience for him, to see people from different religions and cultures all being welcomed as one and to enjoy the Arab hospitality and generosity. “Before we arrived my nephew was expecting that we would have to bring our own food until I explained to him that the meals are all provided for free,” he added. Eddy Sebagala, a Ugandan non-Muslim resident was also visiting the iftar tent for the first time, explaining how he too decided to start fasting along with the Muslim community.

“In my home country we don’t have such organised public iftars and so I wanted to come and see what it’s like. It’s a very good idea that brings us together, we are all coming from different backgrounds to break our fast and eat in the same place.

“I have met people from so many different nationalities, we had the chance to engage and learn one from another, and so these iftar tents are also helping to improve friendships within the community. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and I’ll definitely be visiting again. The food quality is great as well and the tent’s accommodation is very professional and relaxing,” he added.

Khalid Sabry, an Egyptian resident who works at a local restaurant that delivers food to the iftar tent, said he was happy to contribute.

“Everyday I bring the food from the restaurant and to the iftar tent for the people. Along with the volunteers, I make sure all the food is delivered and placed out for everyone, and afterwards I take whatever food is left over from the iftar so that nothing gets wasted.

“I am very happy to do this, it’s Ramadan and so if I can help in anyway then I’m satisfied. This is a wonderful initiative and I’m proud that I can be a part of it, this truly shows the tolerant and giving attitude that is found here in the UAE,” he added.