By Fatimah Dolah.
Ban Phonesavatai, Viantiene, 17 July 2016. You see lots of smiles today as LIFE 2016 ventured onto our aqiqah programme on the fourth day of LIFE 2016. The programme was carried out at Masjid Al-Azhar, one of the only two mosques in the whole Laos targeting to serve about 100 families who stay surrounding this mosque, at the village of Phonesavatai.
“Muslim minority here has not faced much problems in the social context but finding halal meat needs extra efforts. That is why decided to do aqiqah. We prepared and cooked the meat together with local people as early as 7.30 am and had a nice time together for a lunch” said Abbas Abdul Halim, the LIFE’s manager for aqiqah programme.
The history of Muslim community in Lao generally started a long years ago by Chinese merchants from Yunnan. Now after many years, Muslim population is about 1000 people or 0.01 % from total population of Lao PDR. There are two mosques in Laos situated in Vientiane i.e. Masjid Jamia’ patronised by 76 Muslim families surrounding it, where as Masjid Al-Azhar has 85 families.
Asked Abbas what did he hope out of this programme, he explained, “We hope the Muslims here stay united to practice the Prophet Muhammad tradition. I do hope other Muslim countries, companies and charitable organisations will contribute in such event”.
Through small search we discovered that Lao PDR is the least unknown place that have been targeted by any NGO’s from neighbouring Muslim communities in the ASEAN countries to help with qurban and aqiqah donations unlike other remote places in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Mindanao.
The aqiqah programme ended with giving away donations by LIFE members to the Muslim community covering ibadah kits, family kits, stationery kits and hygiene kits. All kits are bought using donations from the people of Malaysia.
“Thank you to all generous donors from Malaysia who sponsored a cow for the aqiqah and the donations kits”, said Abbas to end our conversation.
Abdullah Abbas, manager for community service LIFE 2016.
LIFE team preparing for aqiqah event today.
Woman busy preparing dishes for lunch.