More history was made at Odsal Stadium in April – with Bradford Bulls becoming the first Rugby League club in the country to hold an Iftar Event.
The event was attended by over 50 guests from different faiths and backgrounds – with RFL Chief Executive Tony Sutton and Rimla Akhtar OBE, chair of the Rugby League’s Inclusion Board amongst those present.
Bradfod Bulls first team star Jansin Turgut, who was observing Ramadan at the time, was also present and spoke about the challenge of participating in professional sport during the period of fasting.
During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight, devoting themselves to the Islamic faith. An Iftar event is when people observing Ramadan come together to break their daily fast.
Similar events had been taking place across the city of Bradford, with around the quarter of Bradford’s population identifying as Muslims.
Bradford Bulls’ Commercial Manager Ian Stafford said:
“April’s Iftar was a truly historic and humbling experience, hosting British Rugby League’s first ever Iftar Event at Odsal Stadium.
“It was fantastic to see so many different communities coming together, learning from one another, and observing the Muslim prayer before breaking their fast.
“We are an inclusive club and our stadium is an inclusive stadium. You are welcome here no matter where you are from or what you believe in and this event was another example of that.
“I would once again like to thank Ikram Butt, Siddique Amin, Faz Ali and Humayun Islam for their support in staging this event and we look forward to holding similar events in the future.”
Dr Ikram Butt, the first British Muslim to represent England at either code of rugby, said:
“We were delighted to be part of this historic occasion. Many thanks to Ian Stafford, Chris Mason, Siddique Amin, Humayun Islam BEM BCAc, Faz Ali and Junaid Malik for their tireless efforts behind the scenes and believing in the importance of providing an inclusive environment at Bradford Bulls RLFC supporting and embracing individuals of all faiths and non.
The aim of the Iftar was to promote positive dialogue, inclusivity, and understanding, as well as bringing communities together and developing the understanding of Ramadan. Everyone seemed to have learnt something new and had a good time which is very pleasing.”
Siddique Amin, Managing Director at LA Romantica Beds, said:
“What stood out for me was how friendly the event was and how all parties present were open and honest with each other. The most important thing was not the Iftar but being together as one community, eating together.”