In a poor village in Kampong Chhang province’s Kampong Trolach district recently, an Islamic ritual was held which not only provided beef for the people to eat, but helped make some money for villagers who sold some of the meat.
The ritual, known as the Qurban, is held every year and the organisers try to choose a location where local people will reap the most benefit.
The ritual is an ancient one and involves sacrificing animals, in this case 40 cows.
The Mekong Dialogue Institute sponsored about 40 cattle for the celebration, known as Eid al-Adha day.
Mat Adam of the MDI has been involved in the Qurban, the act of sacrificing the animals, for the past four years.
Mr Adam said that it not only helped people in his village to have food to eat during Eid days, but villagers could also earn some money by selling the meat.
“I am very happy that the MDI chose to do the Qurban in my village and I hope the Qurban programme will continue in the following years,” he said.
MDI’s chief of interfaith Sam Lotfy said he was delighted that he could help make disadvantaged people happy by donating Qurban meat to them on days that are holy to all Muslim people.
“The Qurban is meant to make people come close to one another.
“We give the poor some Qurban meat and we can see that they are quite happy,” he said.
“The thing is that apart from making poor people happy, the donors are happy too, because from an Islamic perspective, we do this charity for the sake of God and he will bless us.”
Mr Lotfy said the MDI chose Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Trolach district to sacrifice the animals, because it is an area where many people face economic disadvantages.
“If all the donors went to the same place, some other areas would not have any Qurban beef to eat on the blessed days,” he said
“Our mission is to help all the poor and needy people, regardless of the religion they are embracing,” Mr Lotfy added.
The act of slaughtering sacrificed animals is an Islamic ritual prescribed in the Quran, the holy scripture of Islam.