Ramadan: London's West End lit up for Islamic festival for first time

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Happy Ramadan lit up in lights in Piccadilly as people look on and a taxi drives pastImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
The lights are in London's theatre district

For the first time, London's West End has been lit up with 30,000 lights to mark the holy month of Ramadan.

Coventry Street, which links Leicester Square with Piccadilly, is illuminated with "Happy Ramadan".

The lights were switched on by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is one of the 1.3 million Muslims in London celebrating Ramadan.

The display was organised by Aisha Desai, who was inspired by her fondness for Christmas lights.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
About 30,000 sustainable lights are on display

She said: "I just had the ambition to do it like the Christmas lights.

"I remembered going to visit the Christmas lights with my sister when I was growing up and I also had an opportunity to live in the Middle East and I wanted to bring that joy and magic to London, the city that I'm from."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
This year, Ramadan will begin on Thursday

Ms Desai began the project three years ago.

"It looks incredible, I'm so overwhelmed with the response," she said.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
About 1.3 million Londoners will be marking Ramadan

"It's such an important month for Muslims.

"I wanted to raise that awareness as well to let our neighbours know that this is a really important month for us, it's my favourite month of the year and I'm just grateful that we're here today."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Events are being held throughout the month across London

Elsewhere in London, an open Iftar - breaking of the fast - will be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in south Kensington which has also erected a pop-up mosque and Ramadan pavilion for Muslims and non-Muslims.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
London's mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, will also be fasting

Chelsea football club will also hold an open Iftar at the side of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, in what will be a first for the club and a Premier League stadium.

Wembley stadium will do the same later in the month.

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