HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – A Halifax imam has launched a new campaign to encourage Canadian Muslims to foster orphan kids, amid hopes of tackling the shortage of Muslim applicants for adoption.
“It’s not just for the Muslim kids. We believe that this is important in general, to adopt children from all backgrounds because we believe that this is an act of worship in Islam,” said Abdallah Yousri, the imam of the Ummah Mosque and Community Centre in Halifax, CBC reported.
Yousri’s efforts to recruit new foster parents have been ongoing over the past weeks.
He started it after the Department of Community Services reached out to the Muslim scholar to help increase the number of foster families in the province.
Six years ago, there were around 800 foster families, but that number dropped to 580 last year.
“I’m really excited that this year we’re seeing those numbers start to increase again, but we never have enough homes,” said Wendy Bungay, director of placement services for the department.
“We really want to ensure that we have a broad and diverse resource of foster families that are available to children of different cultural backgrounds,” she added, commenting on the Muslim community efforts.
For the past two months, Yousri has been encouraging families to register by providing counselling and preparing sermons that stress the importance of fostering children.
His efforts reaped fruit.
Nahil Sadaqa and Afaf Elamassi are parents to four children who have decided to become foster parents to help children.
“When you see that there are children who are in need, you should act, it shouldn’t matter what religion you’re in,” said Elamassi.
“I want to give them love, to care for them and to give them a home because when you’re moving from place to place you’re not feeling safe,” she added.
In Islam, Muslim parents are urged to treat children with respect and to nurture, love and educate them.
Islam gives children many rights and is concerned with their spiritual, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
Muslims are ordered to offer children physical needs, such as food, drink and sleep as well as taking care of their children’s emotional and spiritual needs.
Islam also endorses fostering orphan kids, allowing Muslims to a boy or a girl and takes care of him or her as a real father or mother would do to their child, while keeping in mind that the child should be named after his/her biological parents.
Yet, Islam makes it impermissible to adopt a child and name him after his adoptive parents, while denying his real parents.