Canadian Muslims Volunteer to Help Famine Victims

TORONTO – From Toronto to Ottawa and Calgary, Canadian Muslims are volunteering to pack supply kids to help families facing famine in East Africa, as they mark the holy month of Ramadan.

“Ramadan is the time for us to show support to others, and do something to care for those who are suffering,” Farheen Khan, director of fund development and external affairs of the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF), told Toronto Metro News on Tuesday, May 30.

“30 million people are facing starvation and it’s important that we try to help any way we can.”

According to Khan, the IDRF is teaming up with students and Muslim volunteers to prepare and pack about 1,500 supply kits to be delivered to thousands of families in Somalia.

The charity has led campaigns across the country to raise funds for the cause before.

This time staff have partnered with Global Medic to purchase portable water purification units, hygienic items and nutrition supplements to include in each kit.

It comes as Canadian Muslims mark fasting of the holy month of Ramadan which kicked off last Saturday, May 27.

During the holy month, 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 become closer to Allah through prayer, 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.

Khan said the Ramadan campaign is also about educating Canadian children about global issues.

“We want them to know they can be part of the solution,” she said.

International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) implements relief and development projects across the world, including in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Americas, Eastern Europe, the Middle East in Canada.

IDRF has been chosen by the Financial Post as one of the Top 25 Charities in Canada for two consecutive years.

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.