July 17th, 2015
Reported First On Aljazeera
In an exemplary deed of courtesy and humanity that breaks all cultural barriers, the Turkish Cultural Association in Austria, for the past 14 years, has been providing free iftar (breaking of fast) meals for the needy. The Free Ramadan Kitchen has volunteers from all walks of life and provides free iftar for almost 2,500 people every day.
The beneficiaries mostly comprise of refugees from over 20 countries, including Mongolia, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya.
“We have been organizing this Iftar for the past 14 years,” Erdal Kaymaz, president of the Turkish Islamic Cultural Association told. “Initially we started by feeding 300 people but it has been increasing every year because of the rise in the number of refugees due to conflict and world politics,” Kaymaz said.
The organization is helped by charitable donations from local businesses in the form of money and packaged food.
The chef who accomplishes the mammoth task of cooking more than 150 kilograms of meat, 100 kilograms of rice and vegetables, has been with the kitchen since its beginning 14 years ago. “I am happy that everyone likes the food. I can feel the pain of these people, who have had to flee their country due to difficult circumstances,” said Isa Kiris, the chef.
It is not just Muslim volunteers that help run the big mission. Claudia Jahns-Kozan, a Christian has been volunteering here all through the month of Ramadan. “It is the duty of every Austrian to come and help here. These are our brothers and sisters from far of countries leading a hard life and we can at least do this for them,” said Jahns-Kozan. Besides refugees and the local residents, there also Christian volunteers who “come daily to help us,” informed Kaymaz.
“This is so much better than the food we get at the refugee camp. I am a Christian and I have heard that Ramadan is coming to an end. This is sad and I wish this holy month could continue for some more time,” shared Alexa, a 28-year-old refugee from Ukraine.