x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Big guns to be wheeled out for Ramadan

A Ramadan tradition of cannon explosions to mark Iftar will continue in Dubai this year.

DUBAI // The police are ready to aim and fire in one of their most traditional ways to mark Ramadan.

Cannon will be placed at various locations and fired to signal the start of the holy month, and every night to alert Muslims at the time to break their fast.

Dubai Police have been following the custom since the early 1960s.

Abdullah Mubarak bin Misbah, the head of weapons and ammunition at Dubai Police, said the cannon were British-made and underwent regular maintenance.

Two shots are fired at the start of Ramadan, and during Eid al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. One shot is fired to announce iftar every evening.

Two cannon will be placed in Deira, one will be in Karama and the last will be in Safa Park in Jumeirah.

"One day before the start of Ramadan we will immediately send the cannons to these locations to continue a tradition that started long ago," said Mr bin Misbah. "Residents also enjoy it and we have always seen various nationalities gathering near the cannons."

He said the department was equipped with six cannon, including two reserves. The cannon are operated by a team of 20, who are split into groups of five at each site.

"All safety precautions have been taken and the staff have been well trained," Mr bin Misbah said. "We will also be putting barriers around the cannons to avoid any unnecessary accidents."

Only one accident has been reported since the tradition began, Mr bin Misbah said.

In the early 1980s a man stepped in front of a cannon and suffered minor burns.



* With additional reporting by Bana Al Qabbani