۳۰ بهمن ۱۳۹۸ |۲۵ جمادی‌الثانی ۱۴۴۱ | Feb 19, 2020
Manitoba Islamic Association

The MIA needs $600,000 to build and equip the funeral home, said association chair Idris Elbakari.

Hawzah News Agency - (Manitoba - Canada) - The Manitoba Islamic Association wants people to ring in this weekend, as it puts on a telethon to help raise funds to build the first Muslim funeral home in the province.

The MIA needs $600,000 to build and equip the funeral home, said association chair Idris Elbakari.

The group has raised about $150,000 so far.

"We're doing the old-fashioned telethon where people can call in and pledge or donate on the phone," Elbakari said, adding it will be broadcast live on the Manitoba Islamic Association's Facebook page.

There will be opportunities for the community to get a better understanding of the project, as project leaders and committee members will be interviewed throughout the broadcast, he said.

Elbakari said the main reason Manitoba's Muslim community needs a funeral home is because it's growth in recent years.

"We have, for many decades, provided a service for the community, in terms when somebody passes away, we take care of the funeral arrangements," he said.

"Our partners are struggling with this as our numbers increase," Elbakari said, adding that the MIA has at least one funeral each week.

He said that Muslim funerals have slightly different customs than other cultures and religions, such as burying the body within about 48 hours of death.

Jude Casas, a member of the MIA since 2001, told CBC News that the space where funerals currently take place has to be booked in advance and that it's a shared space with other services.

"The families feel a lot better and well taken care of, when their deceased member is still in the care of their own community," Casas said.

Elbakari said the funeral home is also far away from where most of the community lives.

He cited a number of inconveniences that distance creates, including that the body would have to be driven to the Manitoba Islamic Association Grand Mosque in Winnipeg, then back out to the cemetery.

"Hopefully [a funeral home] will make the process much more efficient, and will allow the family more time for grieving," Elbakari said.

He said the funeral home is currently under construction, and hopes it will be finished in March.

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