Fast friends: Balady hosts Ramadan meal for community

Sharing in celebration: Ayat Masoud and her mother Ferial Masoud enjoy a drink in front of Balady Foods on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge at the market’s public Iftar dinner on June 22.
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They made fast work of this dinner.

Bay Ridge’s Balady Foods welcomed locals breaking their Ramadan fasts during a massive Iftar dinner in front of their Fifth Avenue market on June 22. It was the 10th such dinner the popular halal grocer has thrown for locals, and one brother who manages the family business said he is more than happy to share a meal.

“We had a very good turnout,” said Essa Masoud. “It’s a joyous event — the whole point of getting together is to break our fast, and we want to experience that with our community.”

Observant Muslims do not eat any food or drink any water between sunrise and sunset during the holy month of Ramadan, but the observant hold large meals known as Iftar dinners at sundown. Balady threw its nosh fest two days after the longest day of the year — days last roughly 15 hours throughout June — and folks were certainly hungry.

More than 200 hungry Ridgites polished off five whole lambs, 10 trays of chicken, 10 trays of meat patties called kifta, and roughly eight trays of rice the market laid out, Masoud said.

The tradition started when Masoud’s mother began bringing his father dinner while he manned the cash register at the family market during Ramadan — because he did not want to leave the store to eat. In the spirit of giving during the holy Islamic month, the elder Masoud offered some of the home-cooked food to his customers, so Masoud’s mother cooked more and more food each day — and it grew from there, Masoud said.

“The following year she said, ‘You know what, he’s always giving it out,’ so she made larger dishes, and we’d have to set it up on a big table,” he said.

Soon she was cooking for all the employees and customers who came in and could not fit all the food in the market, so they moved the feast outside and started offering food to passersby — Muslim or not. Masoud said he hopes to see it continue to grow.

“We enjoy doing this, we hope one day to cater to more than just the few hundred that come every year,” he said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Phil from Sunset park says:
June 30, 2016, 1:22 pm
Winter says:
I'm so glad this event wasn't ruined by a terrorist bombing, like so many other Muslim gatherings.
July 1, 2016, 3:02 am
Florida Chang from Brooklyn says:
So now that badlady has held her party, everything stinks. Is she going to clean it up? And what about the awful smell? Some kind of dirty, garlic, spicey sweaty smell. Typically they want to make a mess of everything, then expect everyone else to clean up after them.
July 1, 2016, 6:28 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
This is a nice gesture, designed to put a civilized face on a religious holiday too often associated with violence and oppression of minority groups.
July 1, 2016, 3:22 pm
joann says:
what they did is an act of charity, and any act of charity big or small should be welcomed! in islam, smiling (even at strangers) is an act of charity. keep calm. :)

@ phil- the food was for anyone who happened to be in the area at the time. no formal invitation required.

@ winter- the truth is we are more likely to die from natural causes, diseases, illnesses, and accidents, including, heart disease, injuries, intentional self-harm, firearms, walking, choking, fire, post-surgery complications, alcohol, lightning, etc than a terrorist attack. let's keep things in perspective. :)

@ florida chang- way to showcase your bigotry, and ignorance! do you know how many nations around the world eat garlic with their meals? shame on you. as well, garlic has many health benefits, which you obviously are clueless about.

@ john from bay ridge- it's easy to be an armchair critic. however, accusations absent any facts, and figures are simple false. i believe you're paranoid. let's hear about how you give back to your community.
July 4, 2016, 6:45 pm
tony says:
every one mind your business
July 4, 2016, 6:55 pm
Jake from Dyker Heights says:
Can't stand these people. Dirty rotten loud uncivilized animals. They have a bunch of babies. Rob the country of food stamps. Let their rotten kids runamuck. I speak the truth and this is not made up.
July 7, 2016, 1:18 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:

You can't possibly pretend that Ramadan doesn't bring with it a wave of religiously inspired violence, every year. Do you live in a cave without access to any current news?
July 7, 2016, 2:23 pm
Sana from Bay ridge says:
Everyone please be nice and appreciate the kindness that people give. Thank u Joann. @ Jake, we are definitely not "dirty rotten people". U should get to know us, then u will realize what u said was hurtful.
July 13, 2016, 7:16 am

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