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Nazim Awan calls the Islamic Centre’s annual meat donation both a societal and religious duty.

The over 200 pounds of beef, lamb and goat meat, which will go to the YWCA’s Alison McAteer House, the YK Food Bank and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, is a tradition now five years’ strong.

The donation is part of an Islamic tradition called Qurbani, which occurs after the Eid al-Adha celebration and involves sacrificing an animal to honour the Prophet Ibrahim. The meat is then divided into three parts: one-third for family, one-third for relatives and friends and one-third for those in need.

This year, 13 families purchased one cow and six other animals, lambs and goats. The animals were sacrificed in a facility in Edmonton to ensure the meat is ‘halal,’ an Arabic term meaning permissible according to Islamic law.

The families then donated one-third of their meat and four volunteers with the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife delivered the donation Saturday.

“Our clients are going to be very happy,” said Joanne Teed, vice-president of the YK Food Bank. “It’s been a while since we’ve actually purchased meat ourselves because it’s so expensive.”

Teed added fresh produce and meat are the items most in need at the food bank as the majority of donations are canned and dry goods. Up to 45 families will benefit from the donation to the food bank alone.

Anjum Syed volunteered Saturday to deliver the meat. Since he arrived in the city four months ago from Saskatchewan, he said he feels a warmth from his new community and wants to play a part in enriching it further.

“If you are part of the community then at least you need to do something for the community, right, because so many people deserve and need help,” he said. “That’s how communities flourish and develop.”