To mark this year's Eid al-Fitr, the July 6 celebration concluding the fasting month of Ramadan, a Canadian Muslim charity is giving $250,000 to the people of fire-ravaged Fort McMurray.
The Toronto-based International Development and Relief Foundation, founded by in 1984, was named one of Canada's top 25 charities by the Financial Post for their efforts to "provide humanitarian aid and sustainable development programs based on the Islamic principles of human dignity, self reliance and social justice."
The organization announced that their quarter-million dollar Eid gift — raised during a pre-Canada Day dinner in Markham, Ont. attended by local MP and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship minister John McCallum — would go to Habitat for Humanity to rebuild and repair Fort McMurray homes for those with minimal or no insurance coverage.
Muslims are required to donate a portion of their wealth each year, as a pillar of the faith. Many choose to give charity, known as zakat in Arabic, during the month of Ramadan.
Fire still burning in Fort McMurray
In early May, a massive wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 Fort McMurray residents, destroying 2,400 buildings and damaging thousands more. While people were allowed to return a month ago, only this week did the Alberta government declare the fire under control thanks to recent rains. It is still a little under 5,900 square kilometres in size.
"Unfortunately the fires have left so many families without a place to live. The money raised will be used to repair and build a number of homes, the first being for a single mother of two. Thanks to the generosity of the community, this family will have a new place to call home soon," IDRF board chair Zeib Jeeva said in a press release.
"What better way for Canadian Muslims to celebrate both Canada Day and Eid than to join hundreds of thousands of other Canadians in helping the fellow Canadians who've had their lives turned upside down in Fort McMurray?"