x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Grand Mosque iftars are proving popular

Extra tents added as 100,000 people are fed in first week

Abu Dhabi // About 100,000 people broke their fast at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's iftar tents in the first week of Ramadan.

Every day, from 5pm, people of various nationalities have been arriving at the mosque - mostly by bus - to enter one of 14 air-conditioned iftar tents, one of which is women-only. Each tent holds up to 1,500 people.

Before the maghrib prayer call, every worshipper receives dates, water and milk. About 16,000 to 20,000 meals, mostly Arabic, are made daily and served by about 300 people.

"Fifteen buses come to the mosque every day, organised with the Department of Transport," said Talal Al Mazroui, the mosque's director of events and cultural activities. "By 6.30pm, the whole place is full."

The numbers are greater than in previous years, so extra tents have been added. They are open to people of any religion.

The first Friday prayers at the mosque were attended by 15,000 worshippers, almost twice as many as usual

"All halls were full on Friday," said Mr Al Mazroui. "Even outside, but not the courtyards."

osalem@thenational.ae