TORONTO - Canadian Muslims have launched a campaign to feed the hungry in Toronto, Canada's largest city, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, due to begin Tuesday, July 9, in North America.
The campaign asks those who are fasting to donate the money they are saving for the month - lunch, coffee and snacks - to the Give 30' campaign in support of Daily Bread Food Bank, Ziyaad Mia, the founder of the Give 30' campaign, told OnIslam.net.
The campaign, which started last year, asks Muslims and non-Muslims to give up $1 a day $30 for the month to help those in Toronto who are hungry.
The Ramadan-based initiative was launched in 2012 to build on the principle of social solidarity that fasting seeks to create among all people and across all distinctions between people, said Mia, a Toronto-based lawyer.
As such, I have designed campaign to appeal to Muslims, but also to everyone else in our community, regardless of faith or background.
In that sense, the whole community can participate and share in Ramadan.
The funds raised will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank, a Toronto distribution center supplying other local food banks.
As the hub of the food bank community in Toronto, Daily Bread Food Bank supports approximately 170 member agencies in running different kinds of food relief programs.
Daily Bread member agencies see a monthly average of 66,000 clients.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.
Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.
Mia said the campaign shows a basic Islamic principle of helping those in need regardless of their faith.
I started `Give 30` because I was raised to see the world as one community - it is an enduring and deeply felt belief that I hold on to, he told OnIslam.net.
If it were a motto it would be: One Creator - One Creation - that is how I see things.
Furthermore, faith, belief, devotion, worship are made manifest and real in the world through action and I have always understood Islam's strong call to service as one of service to all creation, not simply one community, tribe or group.
This year, the Give 30' campaign is slated to expand beyond Toronto to Calgary in the Western Canadian province of Alberta.
My humble human intent is simply to mobilize thousands and thousands of people in Canada, and maybe across North America, to take the initiative each Ramadan and act in the service of the broader community by addressing the needs of those who do not have enough to eat, said Mia.
'Give 30' should be an expression of common humanity in service of common cause.
I want it to reflect the best in us as human beings working toward enhancing compassion, social justice and dignity of all creatures, added Mia.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country's statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada's Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade - from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011,Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada's total population.