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British High Commission hosts Olympics Iftar dinner

Islamabad, July 28, 2012 (PPI-OT): Dinner in Islamabad reflects focus on faith in London during the 2012 Games. HC n Kaira

The British High Commissioner, Adam Thomson, hosted an Iftar dinner at the British High Commission in Islamabad to mark the start of London 2012 Games.

Speaking to the assembled guests of diplomats, Olympic officials, former athletes and media personnel, the High Commissioner sent his best wishes to the Pakistani athletes participating in the Games.

The guests also enjoyed a display of rare sporting photographs by Yahya Ghaznavi, depicting former Pakistani and British Olympians and sporting heroes.

The Iftar dinner reflects the special arrangements that have been made as part of the 2012 Games to enable the observance of Ramadan. The London organising committee has worked hard to ensure that all athletes, media, spectators, workforce and volunteers are able to participate fully in the Games whilst observing Ramadan. For example:

There will be a Multi-Faith Centre which will offer support, pastoral care and spiritual help to athletes and officials. A chaplaincy team, including a full complement of Muslim Chaplains, will be available to all Athletes and Officials 24 hours a day at this Multi-Faith Centre, seven days a week, during the games.

Olympic teams will be able to order “break of fast” packs which will include water, nutritional bars and fruit.

The Olympic Village dining hall will offer 24 hour catering and there will be faith rooms for Olympic staff to use when needed.

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Speaking at the occasion, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson said:

“This year the Olympics falls within Ramadan. For the more than 3,000 Muslim athletes competing at the 2012 Games this will be a once in a lifetime chance to compete with the same discipline, focus and commitment required of them during their holiest month. We welcome these athletes and the countless thousands of Muslims, here and abroad, who will be enjoying the Games at this very special time.

“I wish the Pakistani Olympic and Paralympic teams the very best of luck as they proudly represent their nation at the London 2012 Games. The Pakistan hockey team has been drawn in the same group as the British team for the preliminary round of the Olympic hockey tournament and we all look forward to that exciting encounter.

The athletes are the centrepiece of the Games and our focus has been on building the best possible stage on which they can shine. It will be wonderful to watch UK, Pakistani and other world nations set world records and bring home medals.

“The London 2012 Games present a great opportunity for Britain to welcome the world. Many nationalities, cultures and backgrounds are already represented in the UK, including hundreds of thousands of British Pakistanis. This is part of what makes Britain such a diverse, open and tolerant society and a reason why I am sure Pakistan’s Olympic team will generate such a big following.”
Further information

The London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has engaged with the Muslim community about Ramadan on a regular basis over the past three and a half years, both through the Greater London Authority and through the Faith Reference Group.

This has taken the form of discussions with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) and other Muslim organisations at formal and informal meetings to find out which facilities and services are required to enable the observance of Ramadan.

Other arrangements made for spectators, staff and volunteers include:

Quiet areas for spectators to pray, in each venue and in the Olympic park;

Food available for the “breaking of fast” (or the ability for such food to be brought in to the venue);

Back of house faith rooms for volunteers and staff at all venues;

Diversity and inclusion briefing to make sure all games time staff and volunteers are aware of Ramadan and the needs of the Muslim community;

Briefing for all functional areas about Muslim staff and volunteers and their needs during Ramadan;

A full 24/7 multi faith chaplaincy team for staff and volunteers with Muslim chaplains.

For more information, contact:
Mike Girling
Press Attache
British High Commission
Islamabad
Tel: +9251 201 2000
Cell: +92300 500 5306
Website: http://ukinpakistan.fco.gov.uk

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