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Ramadan lights to stay up in London over Easter weekend

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Ramadan lights on display in London’s West End over Easter it has been confirmed. It comes as Muslims are currently celebrating the holy month, the most important event in the Islamic calendar, with lights up in Oxford Street and between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square to celebrate.

This year represents the second year the lights have been put up for Ramadan in the capital after they were switched on by London mayor Sadiq Khan alongside TV presenter Adil Ray.

The lights wishing a ‘Happy Ramadan’ have won plaudits after Aisha Desai was inspired by the festive Christmas lights in central London and began Crowdfunding for the idea.

Eventually, the lights received the backing of Asif Aziz, a billionaire property developer whose company owns sites including the London Trocadero, funding them through his Aziz Foundation.

Ms Desai was awarded a Points of Light award for the initiative with this year’s design featuring Islamic designs and illuminated signs.

The period of Ramadan occurs at a different time every year because the Islamic calendar is aligned with the Moon. 

This year, as it did in 2023 and 2022, Easter falls within the month of Ramadan, however up to 30 years can pass between the two coinciding.

But Westminster Council has confirmed the lights will remain in place despite the clashing events.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council supports festivals from different faith communities throughout the year, and the Ramadan lights form part of that activity.

“The West End hosts millions of visitors a year from around the world and these lights will add an attractive extra dimension to Oxford Street for those who observe Ramadan and those who don’t.”

Ms Desai said she hoped her idea would inspire Muslims and people of other faiths to come up with their own ideas to celebrate important events.

She told the Telegraph: “It’s spreading awareness in such a nice way through art and light installation.

“It was the idea that came from me but I encourage Muslims and people from other faiths to continue on and do it.”

Westminster Council has pointed out that it “routinely supports” a wide range of other faith activities throughout the year including Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday, Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah.

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