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THE sounds of laughter and friendship filled the air last night as Muslims from across the region gathered to break their fast together.

An Iftar event was held by Pompey in the Community and the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) to celebrate the breaking of the fast during Ramadan.

Faz Ahmed from The Akash, middle, with friends at the Iftar event at Pompey in the Community. Picture: David George

Faz Ahmed from The Akash, middle, with friends at the Iftar event at Pompey in the Community. Picture: David George

The month of Ramadan is a period of fasting, sacrifice, giving, piousness and self-training – starting on May 17 and running for one month.

Iftar itself is the daily breaking of the fast.

Last night’s event was the first of its kind, with support from the navy, the University of Portsmouth and The Akash restaurant, which provided the food for the evening.

Director of Pompey in the Community Clare Martin said: ‘This was an idea that we couldn’t say no to.

‘It’s great to give a bit more understanding with things like this.

‘You have got to respect those who take part in Ramadan because it is an amazing sacrifice for their religion.’

Faz Ahmed, trustee at PITC and co-owner of The Akash, said: ‘We are the first club to do something like this with the PFA which is a huge honour.

‘We have such a wide range of people here – from Muslims to Christians, Jews and so on.

‘Portsmouth is an incredibly diverse city and the more we can do to not only support that community, but bring people together, is really important.

‘I think something like this would be hard to replicate in other places if the community wasn’t as tight-knit as ours is.’

Faz says that the toughest parts of Ramadan are the things that we take for granted in our daily lives.

He said: ‘It’s the little things like drinking water that you tend to miss more.

‘If I could choose between a pot of gold and a glass of water, I’d be picking the water in a heartbeat.

‘To show other people what that is like and what it means to Muslims is something very special to us.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, also attended the event, as well as another community Iftar at the Jami mosque in Fratton.

He said: ‘Events like this are really important because we need to do all we can to build relationships between the different communities in the city.

‘It makes this club become everyone’s club, which is great.’