King Philippe went to a Muslim family from Evergem (in Ghent) yesterday evening (Monday) to break the fast, per his wish to participate in iftar with ordinary citizens. Khalid Benhaddou one of the eight sons of Abdel Azziz Benhaddou, said “This is an event for which we are very grateful.” Khalid’s brother, Mohammed, opened the door of his bungalow to the King. His family live in the Evergem district bordering the port area. With two of Abdel’s six grandchildren present, three generations of the family attempted to break the fast together as far as practicable. Khalid Benhaddou indicated, “This is a sign of unity and cohesion.”
The King took the time to get to know family members, and to ask about the significance of Ramadan. It was an opportunity for the family to stress the discipline, strict adherence and perseverance, which the 18 hours of fasting demands.
The fast was broken, in the customary manner, with a date and some milk shortly after 10 p.m. This occurred before a meal which brought together typically Moroccan dishes.
Khalid Benhaddou, an imam in Ghent and working for the Flemish Education Department, had already met the King earlier in the day, as part of the country’s prevention of radicalisation strategy. He considers, “We are reaching out to the Muslim community. The King is thus acknowledging how Muslims are living out Islam.”