Piccadilly Circus Ramadan

Piccadilly Circus was illuminated by Ramadan lights for the first time ever on Tuesday night.

Over 30,000 lights were switched on by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a display to mark the first day of the month – the first of its kind in Europe.

Ramadan is the month of fasting observed by Muslims, including Khan, who refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk every day during that period, which this year runs from March 22 to April 23.

The lights were the result of a campaign by Ramadan Lights UK, led by Aisha Desai, Head of Community for charity Algbra.

She said: “As a child, a trip into central London to see the festive lights was an annual treat. My sister and I would lie in the back of the car looking at the lights through the sunroof. It was magical.

“As a proud Muslim, I wanted to bring some of that magic to my community. And three years ago, that journey began with Ramadan lights. And our generous donors have helped us go from strength to strength.”

The initiative was also supported by the Aziz foundation, which helps Muslims into higher education.

Rahima Aziz said: “Having Ramadan Lights shine in central London will be an incredible experience for all Muslims as they see their faith recognised in their surrounding; this will strengthen their sense of belongings.”

She added she wanted Ramadan Lights to generate the same sentiment as the festive decorations that light up the West End every year during Christmas.

“Christmas has always been the most exciting time to be in London for me because of the lights and the festivities.

“Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case for Ramadan where the inner excitement hasn’t been reflected externally.

“My hope is that future generations will look forward to Ramadan the way that everyone else looks forward to Christmas.”

Image: Mayor of London.

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