An aerial view of deserted Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Over 3 million iftar meals were served at the Grand Mosque in Mecca for Muslims to break their day-long fasting in the first 20 days of the current holy Islamic month of Ramadan, a Saudi newspaper said.

The meals were offered by charities in conjunction with a government committee in Mecca, added online paper Sabq.

Hundreds of employees, including 100 from the General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, oversee serving around 150,000 meals a day, head of the mosque’s courtyard management Moussa bin Mohammed said.

“The number of charity banquets reaches 10,000, each stretching for nearly 12 metres,” he added.

Around 67 charities are engaged in providing the meals, and the iftar sites in the courtyards of the mosque are specified in coordination with security agencies, the official said.

“This takes into consideration the passageways to allow smooth movement of walkers and the physically handicapped people as well as service carts. Sites for men and women are also segregated based on regulations set by the administration,” he explained.

Observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking daily from dawn to dusk in Ramadan. Saudi authorities have geared up for serving worshippers and pilgrims, flocking to the Grand Mosque in Ramadan as anti-coronavirus restrictions have largely eased.