Sadiq Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, marked the start of Ramadan by lighting up Piccadilly Circus last Tuesday.
Tonight we welcome the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan ☪️
I want to thank London’s Muslims, not only for your enormous contribution to our city, but for showcasing London’s caring and compassionate values.
From my family to yours: Ramadan Mubarak. #RamadanMubarak pic.twitter.com/GXXHcMyhe0
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) March 22, 2023
The 30,000 lights will remain up until sunset on April 21, when the month of fasting ends. The lights represent Ramadan motifs, with phases of the moon, stars and the words "Happy Ramadan."
THE LIGHTS ARE ON✨
The Aziz Foundation brings Central London the FIRST EVER Ramadan lights, attached to Aziz Family buildings!
We will lead this for years to come, so make sure to visit & tag us!
Special thank you to Heart of London Business Alliance.
Ramadan Mubarak! pic.twitter.com/06jhOu2L9j
- Aziz Foundation (@AzizFndn) March 21, 2023
"For me, Christmas has always been the most exciting time in London because of the lights and the festivities. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case for Ramadan," explained Rahima Aziz, a trustee for the Aziz Foundation, the organization that advocated for the lights to be put up. She also said:
Let the lights of Ramadan shine will be an amazing experience for all Muslims. My hope is that future generations will look forward to Ramadan as much as everyone looks forward to Christmas.
Despite the festive mood in the city, some Londoners have taken to Twitter to show their discontent, such as @blythie7:
Does anyone ever remember seeing this in lights in a prime position in central London? NO, BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN. We can't wait to see what you have planned for our national CHRISTIAN celebrations @SadiqKhan after the huge effort and cost gone into Ramadan lights. pic.twitter.com/2l1UgLG10N
- JENNY BLYTH (@blythie7) March 23, 2023
Another user, @pnfard posted the following tweet:
I am wondering if he is trying to win votes from his religious community as he has become unpopular?
He is advertising religion and may disrespect other religious community. These lights should have put up in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.
I am not racist and a Muslim.
- Pedram (@pnfard) March 22, 2023