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Joining with Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew to wish Villa supporters Eid Mubarak

It's been a bad year. Let's celebrate what makes us different!

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Being based in Aston, an area with an amazingly diverse population, it’s incredible to see the players of Villa celebrating the culture of the district.

Yes, that’s really Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew - two rich footballers chilling out to celebrate the end of Ramadan with the local community. Today was Eid Al-fitr (festival of breaking the fast), an extended celebration that brings about the end to Ramadan, or the fasting period that followers of the Islamic faith.

Ramadan is tough. It’s intended to enforce followers of Islam to think about the struggles of those who are less fortunate.

‘Observant Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan, with a single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette considered enough to invalidate the fast.’ - Indian Express

My friend Mohammed used to talk about the dry tongue he’d wake up with every morning as the sun shone through his window onto his face. The headaches, the pains, the aches. He’d have to look at the smoking shelter and shake his head. It’s tough and so, so tempting to break fast. It's a real trial.

Too often we see people (not just footballers) take their paycheck, go home and keep to themselves. We can live in gated communities far away from the beating heart of our cities, we can ignore our fellow supporters. It's refreshing to see these well-paid athletes break bread with people who simply aren't as wealthy or as popular as them.

Remember, Ayew and Gestede did this of their own free will. They are entitled to stay at home to bring in Eid. This is genuinely heartwarming and honestly helps restore some of my faith into this world.

At a time when there are genuine forces that seek to divide communities, we need to all stand together and celebrate what makes us different. Birmingham's greatest asset is the diversity it fosters.

From me to you and all the Islamic followers of Aston Villa, Eid Mubarak.