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West End lit up with Ramadan lights for first time

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

The West End has been covered in lights to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan for the first time.

Coventry Street, which joins Piccadilly and Leicester Square, is now illuminated with the message “Happy Ramadan” after a woman single-handedly campaigned to get the month-long Muslim festival recognised in central London.

The Mayor of London said he was “honoured” to be invited to officially turn on the lights in a ceremony on Tuesday night ahead of the start of the holy month.

The street in the heart of the West End was decked out with lights depicting crescent moons, stars and traditional lanterns.

The curated concept depicts the phases of the moon throughout Ramadan.

Organised by non-profit organisation Ramadan Lights UK, in collaboration with Heart of London Business Alliance, the initiative is run on donations from members of the public and Muslim businesses.

Aisha Desai, head of community of Algbra, said this was an extension of her initial Ramadan lights campaign launched three years ago.

The festival is observed by Muslims, including Sadiq Khan, who this year will fast in daylight hours from March 22 to April 21. (PA)
The festival is observed by Muslims, including Sadiq Khan, who this year will fast in daylight hours from March 22 to April 21. (PA)

Ms Desai 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.

“Year one brought the lights to my local community in Henlys Corner on the North Circular. Year two took their beauty to the tourists and the Lions of Trafalgar Square. This year I am so proud that our lights will line one of London’s most famous streets — Coventry Street, the road that joins Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square.”

According to their official Instagram page, the lights will be switched on from 5pm to 1am throughout the 30 days of Ramadan.