My authority took a small step towards reinforcing multicultural ties this week when we were privileged to host our growing Muslim community and join with them in the first community Iftar at County Hall, in Usk.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours but once darkness falls communities and families gather together at an Iftar to break their fast, firstly with water and dates and then with a wide variety of foods.

This was our chance to show that we can share each other’s ceremonies and traditions and I am proud of the fact that people of all faiths and none gathered on Friday evening for the first ever Monmouthshire Muslim Community Association Iftar held in Monmouthshire County Council Headquarters in Usk.

I was honoured to host this ground-breaking event. Our guests shared ideas and experience and we were treated to a fabulous feast of food from Syria, Turkey, and Bangladesh.

Events such as this raise awareness, encourage diversity and help bring people together.

If this is not done in every council area, I would really encourage others to hold similar events - this was our the first but will be by no means the last time we break bread together and break new ground.

It is wonderful to see so many people enjoy each other’s company, share food and gain a deeper understanding of their neighbours.

I was delighted that Imam Ustad Faisal Khajjou from the Muslim community gave a presentation about Ramadan and recited from the Qu’ran. He, too was thrilled to be part of such a positive event. He told us how Ramadan cleanses those who participate and prepares them for the year ahead.

It was such a positive step forward and all the more so because we were able to share it widely, with guests from Muslim communities from all over Monmouthshire, as well as other County and Town Councillors and council officers including Shajan Miah, our Community Cohesion Officer to whom I am indebted for helping to coordinate the event. Ramadan Kareem to everyone!