During Ramadan, a combined mix of maritime forces in Bahrain has conducted an Iftar Ceremony alongside their naval vessels.
On Wednesday 21st June members of the Royal Navy’s United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) invited members of the Royal Bahrain Naval Force (RBNF) and the Combined Maritime Force (CMF) to an Iftar meal, the breaking of the Ramadan fast at the end of each day. The fast is officially broken at sunset, with a short prayer followed by a sociable meal with friends and family.
Seniors Officers, naval ratings and other guests were hosted by Captain Simon Asquith RN the Deputy Commander of UKMCC. He said: “We have taken the opportunity, whilst in Bahrain, to connect with local religious and military leaders as a gesture of respect for our local hosts” and added: “we have excellent relations here in Bahrain and as we prepare to open HMS JUFAIR later in the year this strengthens our ties and understanding as we operate alongside the RBNF and CMF.”
The UK Chief of Defence Staff’s Islamic Advisor, Imam Asim Hafiz OBE who conducted the ceremony said: “Hosting an Iftar party is an honour and something that governments all around the world routinely do for their Muslim citizens” adding: “I have been honoured to have led this ceremony and prayers with our naval brethren here in Bahrain”. Imam Asim also had the opportunity during his visit to meet with Bahraini military counterparts to discuss mutual understanding and religious and cultural cooperation.
Accompanying him was the Chair of the UK’s Armed Forces Muslim Association, Major Naveed Muhammed MBE from the UK’s Royal Corps of Signals, who assisted with the event. A traditional snack of dates and water was served in the Majlis tent set up on the jetty next to HMS Middleton and HMS Bangor. Naveed said: “At a time of turbulence in the world this was a great opportunity for personnel of all faiths, and from different nations, to share in this Islamic breaking of the Ramadan fast” adding: “sharing these rituals helps create an open understanding, which is vital today.”
After the meal Naveed said: “The role of the UK Armed Forces can sometimes be misunderstood. It was a privilege to be able to take part in this engagement. It was an important opportunity alongside individuals from strategic partner nations in a sensitive part of the world and was an excellent way in which to highlight the UK Armed Forces’ commitment to better understanding the areas in which they operate therefore improving mutual understanding which ultimately leads to respect for each other.”