As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan draws to a close, Paris has been burning the midnight oil by way of a festival that hopes to tighten the gap between Islam and the West. This year marks the fifth edition of Les Veillées du Ramadan, or Ramadan Nights festival. The theme "Muslims in Europe" is heartily explored through art, music, workshops, debates and, not least of all, food.

The aim is to promote exchanges between Europe's 32 million Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbours. It's about tolerance – and showing how Islam has continually fed European art, culture and philosophy throughout the ages.

It all kicked off 10 days ago at l'Institut des Cultures d'Islam (the ICI), an unassuming venue tucked away in the Goutte d'Or (drop of gold) neighbourhood in Paris's 18th arrondissement. Thanks to the area's large numbers of African and Arab residents, it is also known as Little Africa.

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