CAIRO - Disregarding differences in culture or faith, Muslims in the Canadian city of Calgary have organized a food and clothes distribution event to help vulnerable refugees, immigrants and needy people to face the hardships of life.
"We want to ease the pain of them not being able to support their families," Idrees Khan, chair of the Muslim Families Network Society, which organized the event, told the Calgary Herald on Sunday, March 18.
That's why we are doing this.
Welcoming recent immigrants, refugees, single mothers or needy families, the event was open to everyone in need, regardless of culture or faith.
"Charity is the third pillar of Islam, Khan said.
As Muslims, we are supposed to share our wealth, or whatever we have, with people in need. It's highly important.
Kalthoum Idam, a mother of six children between the ages of three and 17, was one of the hundreds of people who crowded into the Marlborough Park Community Center.
"My husband is not working. He has not had work for a year now," said Idam, who came to Calgary from Sudan with her family five years ago.
"I have found some work, but it's just part-time cleaning work."
During the event, the MFNS provided halal meat, slaughtered according to the tenets of Islamic Shari`ah, in its food hampers.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
The helping hand was not offered to Muslims alone.
The MFNS also handed out grocery gift cards, so that recipients from a variety of countries and cultures can choose the food items they are used to.
Officials pay tribute to the role of the MFNS to communicate with refugees and immigrants who are unsure about how to traverse the Canadian social services system.
"They hear about us through word of mouth - whether it's people they met at the mosque, or neighbors, or people who are part of the same cultural community they're part of," Hiba Fadol, a Muslim Families Network Society board member, said.
"They may be new to the city . . . So sometimes this is the first avenue they're aware of, and we can then refer them to other agencies who may be able to help."
The organization also helps in raising awareness about Calgary's Muslim community.
"It's important for the community to see us as participating members of the greater community, in Calgary and in Canada overall," Fadol said.
Nomaan Baig was one of more than 100 volunteers helping out at Saturday's event."It's a good cause, and you come away knowing you've helped the community," Baig said.
"I'd be at home watching TV if it wasn't for this, so it's better that I'm here helping someone else." Saturday's event is not the first for the Muslim Families Network Society.
The MFNS holds a similar event in Ramadan, on August 5, to provide help that brings long-gone smiles to the faces of poor and needy families.
The charity provides inclusive services to the diverse community of Calgary and all individuals seeking support.
They receive supplies and aid packages from the Muslim community all over the year and donate it to low-income families.
Muslims make up nearly two percent of Canada's some 32.8 million people and Islam has become the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
A poll has showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian and are more integrated and better educated than the general population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net