OTTAWA – In a bid to keep them connected to their faith, Muslim Family Services of Ottawa is fundraising to help kids in foster care celebrate `Eid Al-Adha, expected within days.
“We try to do things that will keep them connected to the community,” Shawana Shah, executive director of Muslim Family Services of Ottawa, told Metro News on Sunday, August 20.
“It puts them at ease with the stuff that would be normal for them in their own home.”
In its second year, the group’s Lamb Project aims to fundraise enough money to allow kids in foster families to have a lamb meal as part of `Eid Al-Adha.
`Eid Al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice”, marks the end of the Hajj season and is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares with six others in sacrificing a camel or a cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha celebrations.
The ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience and full submission to Allah, the Almighty.
The Udhiyah meat is divided into three equal parts, each part for one’s own family, friends and the poor.
Shah noted that the idea is that children living in care can still hold onto their identity.
“Kids who are living in non-Muslim families temporarily may not have access or might not be aware,” she said.
“It would be like a kid who doesn’t get to celebrate Christmas because he is living with someone from a different culture or religion.”
The tradition is also an important opportunity to involve foster parents and give them some information about Islam that they could use with future foster children, Shah added.
“The foster parents and the Muslim kids will sit together and decide where the lamb goes,” she said.
“It’s an education piece for foster parents as well.”