Locals packed Fifth Avenue in front of Balady Foods Market for the annual Ramadan Community Dinner on June 6, breaking the fast and building bonds.
Balady owner Essa Masoud said that the annual event celebrating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan just gets better every year, and has grown in something for the entire community to enjoy, not just Bay Ridge’s growing Muslim population.
“What originally started as a dinner for those fasting in the community is now a dinner for everyone, even those not involved in the Ramadan fasting and festivities,” Masoud said.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims do not consume any food or drink between sunrise and sunset, so they hold large, joyous feasts known as iftar dinners at sundown to break the fast each day.
Around 400 hungry people showed up to enjoy lamb, chicken, salad, a traditional dish called kifta, and a wide variety of other Middle Eastern foods as they took in the festivities and chatted with other guests.
Many who dropped by for a halal knosh hadn’t even planned to attend, such as Mohamed Namatella. But he said the atmosphere of the event made him want to stop and meet people.
“I was originally going to a restaurant nearby with my family,” Namatella said. “But I stopped by, and it’s so nice to see people you don’t know. Everyone is more than a family, and it feels good.”