To celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid ul Adha in early August, the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife has donated Qurbani – or sacrificed meat – to community organizations across the city.
Nazim Awan, the centre’s chair, told Cabin Radio: “The purpose is to share what Allah has given us. He has blessed us with so many things, with a duty to share that with other people.”
Eid ul Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is a major event in the Muslim religious year. It celebrates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah.
Part of the celebration requires families to sacrifice livestock – often cows, sheep, or goats – and divide the meat into three parts. The family keeps one third, shares the second with family and friends, and donates the third to charity. That ritual is named Qurbani.
The centre has been making donations of Qurbani meat around Yellowknife for the past 10 years. This year, meat was sent in from Edmonton and donations are being provided to the Yellowknife Food Bank, the Alison McAteer family violence shelter, and the Native Women’s Association.
The food bank distributes the meat on a first-come, first-served basis through its weekly food hamper program.
The group doesn’t often have meat to hand out because of the cost, said food bank vice-president Joanne Teed, so clients are always happy to see it in stock.
“[Meat’s] so expensive, especially with this Covid pandemic, so many people [with] reduced incomes,” she said. “People just appreciate it so much. It saves them having to put out that extra money.”
Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife. Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
Donated meat. Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
Thirty-three families participated in this year’s Qurbani sacrifice.
“We can do it anywhere in the world … but we choose to do it here,” Awan said. “The Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters who are needy, we make a little contribution in their wellness, in their dietary needs, in their health, in their family needs.”
Awan said the centre is looking into opening its own food bank, similar to the Arctic Food Bank run by the Midnight Sun Mosque in Inuvik.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re Muslim or non-Muslim. A hungry person is a hungry person,” he said.