Oct
29
2016
Holiday Guide
2016

Celebrating Eid-ul-Adha by Giving Back to the Community

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Lending a hand to those who need it the most, is one of the cornerstones of Islam. As millions of Muslim celebrated Eid-ul-Adha on September 12, this sense of giving back was evident at home in Fort McMurray too. Markaz-ul-Islam, the Muslim congregation, began Eid prayers at Shell Place with a $15,000 cheque presentation to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association.

“This amount is a part of the larger fund, which has been allocated to support local Fort McMurray residents who have been affected by the wildfire. Markaz-Ul-Islam received donations from The Islamic Relief Canada, the B.C Muslim Association, The Masjid Al Noor (Surrey) and local members of Markaz-Ul-Islam,” said the official news release.

“So far, we have helped 24 families with a total amount of $39,100 in the form of gift cards, and/or cash. Markaz-Ul-Islam is working closely with the local Alberta Works office and other supporting agencies. If you are in need of this additional support, we ask you to visit the local Alberta Works office for assessment and referral. We ask God Almighty to bless our city, keep us united and make us overcome this test with patience, determination, and dignity. Together we are stronger,” officials added.

Indeed, Eid-ul-Adha, which is a three-day festival marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, the largest religious gathering on the planet - is a beautiful reminder of determination from Prophet Abraham, who almost sacrificed his son, Ishmael.

Arianna Johnson, Executive Director, Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association appreciated the donation. She said having Markaz-ul-Islam as a supporter means fulfilling a specific need.

“Culturally specific food drives and events provide us with the opportunity to have culturally specific foods for our clients. All monetary donation (from the Markaz) allows us to ensure that we have resources necessary to feed our community, this money will be earmarked for purchasing Halal goods,” explained Johnson, who has been with the association for over five-and-a-half years.

Halal refers to kosher meat and food for Muslims. Thanks to Markaz-ul-Islam, the Halal section of the food bank was launched four years.

On July 16, Markaz-ul-Islam, also hosted a welcome back barbecue for local firefighters, who were honoured with hand-made cards, and a commemorative print especially presented to Chief Darby Allen. The event combined Eid-ul-Fitar celebrations, which happens at the end of Ramadan with the thank you.

Abdul Salam Abdo, President, Markaz-ul-Islam, said that’s the “least we could do for our firefighters.”

“They saved our city. We wanted to show our appreciation. Because of the evacuation this year, we didn’t have our regular Eid fun fair, so we decided on combining Eid with our thank you to first responders,” Abdo explained at the event.

Councillor Colleen Tatum enjoyed the barbecue, and distributed candy among children, noting “it was a great event. I was touched to see so many come out to honour the first responders.”

“Our gratitude to them is immense. We can never say thank you enough, but the Muslim community did a great job expressing it with a celebration for our first responders. Seeing so many familiar faces was so heartwarming. These are the faces that so many fought so hard for. They saved so much. Not just the structures, but they saved the community’s ability to return and gather just as we did at the barbecue. I am thankful I was able to join the Muslim community in honouring our first responders,” Councillor Tatum noted.

Adam Hiscock, Acting Captain, Fort McMurray Fire Department, appreciated the invitation and support.

“We appreciate the Mosque. We need the support. We are here to say thank you for their appreciation. It’s been great across the city. The thank you cards are neat from little artists. We can tell they put in a lot of time. It’s heartfelt.”

Indeed, this heartfelt sense of charity remains front and centre for Muslims during both their annual holidays. Eid continues to be a time with family and friends, but also a time to go above and beyond for those, who may not have anyone else thinking of them. And, there will always be something inherently noble in the execution of this action. 

KIRAN MALIK-KHAN

Kiran Malik-Khan is the Director of Stakeholder Relations for The United Way of Fort McMurray. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.

Website: twitter.com/kiranmk0822

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