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Caritas distributes Muslim prayer kits for Eid celebration

On Friday - the festival of Eid in which Muslims remember the story of the prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael - Caritas workers in Aceh distributed religious kits to enable families affected by the tsunami crisis to mark the occasion.

The kits contained a prayer mat used by Muslims as part of the requirement of Islam to pray five times a day in a clean area free from dust and insects. They also included a sarong, which is traditionally worn by men to attend the mosque, and a "mukena" or female Moslem outfit that cover their heads and bodies when they pray.

The 2500 kits were distributed in the Meulaboh area of Aceh to people living in camps. The kits arrived in time for people to use their contents for the Eid festival.

Caritas team leader Pat Johns said: "We talked to our local staff and the community leaders in the area to ask them what they needed. Many people in Meulaboh and the surrounding area lost everything and the loss of items that are important for their Muslim faith was particularly distressing.

Many people in Meulaboh and the surrounding area lost everything and the loss of items that are important for their Muslim faith was particularly distressing.

"As a faith based organisation, we recognise the importance of faith to many people, so as a mark of respect for the festival of Eid, Caritas decided to distribute what we are calling 'religious kits'."

Caritas staff in Banda Aceh marked the occasion in a very different way - by donating a bull and three goats to the local mosque in Geuceu Kompleks village which just opposite the Caritas base. Part of the Muslim tradition of Eid is to eat meat and mosques distribute meat donated by wealthy members of the community to the poor people of the area.

In the story of Ibrahim and Ishmael, which is shared by Islam and the Old Testament, God asked the prophet to prove his faith by sacrificing his son. Torn between his love of God and his love for his son, Ishmael agreed to do God's will but just as he was about to sacrifice Ishmael God made a goat appear. He then told Ibrahim that he had proved his faith and so could sacrifice the goat.

Pictured: At the Mosque in Geucue Komplekx, Banda Aceh, Pat Johns of Catholic Relief Services presented the Ulama with a bull and two goats to celebrate Eid.

Caritas Team distribute Muslim prayer kits to festival of Eid Adha (CAFOD 21/1/05)

Caritas Australia Asia Earthquake Appeal | Caritas Australia Asia Earthquake Appeal tops $8 million (13/01/2005)
The Caritas Response to the Tsunami Disaster in SE Asia (Caritas Internationalis)

Total Catholic aid to Tsunami recovery effort now at $500m (CathNews 21/1/05)
Caritas Australia Tsunami Appeal now at $8m (CathNews 20/1/05)
Caritas Australia Asia Earthquake Appeal tops $8 million (Caritas 19/1/05)
Australia remembers tsunami victims (CathNews 17/1/05)
Australians to remember tsunami victims (CathNews 14/1/05)
Inter-faith prayer for tsunami victims in Phuket (CathNews 7/1/05
Stronger faith builds in the wake of disaster (CathNews 6/1/05)
Australian Church sends prayers and support to tsunami victims (CathNews 4/1/05)

Yudhoyono joins ACEH prayers (SBS 21/1/05)
Caritas appeal tops $7m (Catholic Weekly 23/1/05)
Overwhelming response to appeal (Catholic Leader 23/1/05)
Tsunami triggers a wave of grief (Catholic Leader 23/1/05)
A most powerful healing light (Catholic Weekly 23/1/05)
India: poorest of the poor help tsunami victims (Independent Catholic News 20/1/05)
Thailand: where survivors have lost everything but hope (Independent Catholic News 20/1/05)
Stealthy mission to save souls (The Age/London Telegraph 22/1/05)
Donations begin journey to Indonesia (The Mercury 22/1/05)
Reflection in Wake of the Tsunami (Zenit 21/1/05)
Eucharist a solace in time of disaster (Catholic Weekly 23/1/05)
Fr Chris Jenkins SJ: Letter from Sri Lanka (14/1/04)

24 Jan 2005