The Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha ended a few weeks ago, but the spirit of sacrifice and giving is timeless.

Members of the Yellowknife Islamic community on Wednesday distributed meat to local groups for the tradition of Qurbani, or sacrifice.

“This year we have about 33 families from Yellowknife who offered Qurbani,” said Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife, as he presented boxes of frozen beef, lamb and chicken to staff at the YK Food Bank. The meat was processed in Edmonton.

Nazim Awan, left, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife speaks with Coleen McClean-Cham, volunteer coordinator at the YK Food Bank after donating boxes of frozen meat to the food bank. Blair McBride/NNSL photo


Part of Eid al-Adha, Qurbani involves giving one-third of the meat from a slaughtered animal to hungry people.

The other thirds go to one’s family and their friends or extended family.

It has its origin in the biblical story of Abraham, whose willingness to sacrifice his son Issac to God demonstrated his faith, and God instead sent a ram to be sacrificed while Issac was spared.

“Some people give directly to neighbours and friends and others donate to Islamic centres. We decided this year on (helping out) the Food Bank, the Native Women’s Society and the Alison McAteer House,” Awan said.

About 500 lbs of meat was donated to the community groups this year, he said.

“Each year we give to different groups and not just one. We just want to give to needy people. Feeding the hungry is the best deed in Islamic culture. A hungry person is a hungry person, it doesn’t matter it the person is Islamic or not. God says the food doesn’t reach me, your intention reaches me.”

Joann Teed, vice-president of the YK Food Bank, said, “This is the third time they’ve donated meat to us,” she said. “It’s great to receive this and we always welcome donations of meat because it’s so expensive to buy.”

The protein-packed donation comes at a time when the bank’s services are in greater demand.

“We’re going through more food every week,” said volunteer coordinator Coleen McClean-Cham. “Covid has raised the need for food in the community. There are more people out of work now. Different groups are coming in here compared to  before, it’s more diverse.”

Food Bank staff plan to put the meat in a freezer until clients can come and pick it up.

Eid Al-adha is the second yearly Eid – or festival – after Ramadan. This year, Eid ran from the evening of July 30 to Aug. 3.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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