Cows, Goats Donated to Muslims for Festival

Some 50 local and international Islamic organizations donated more than 6,000 cows and goats to Muslim families in Cambodia to celebrate this year’s religious festival of Eid al-Adha, which took place on Friday evening, according to Zakaryya Adam, vice president of the Cambodian Muslim Development Foundation.

Also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Old Testament prophet Abraham to obey an order from God, or Allah, to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience, which Allah rewarded by providing a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Millions of Muslims around the world pay tribute by sacrificing cows, lambs and other animals, and donating meat to the poor in their own and other countries.

Mr. Adam said that his organization alone distributed the meat of about 3,400 Cambodian cows and goats to 1,400 households in Kompong Chhnang province and 830 households in Kompong Cham province.

But donations this year were down 30 percent from last year, when the meat of more than 7,000 cows and goats was distributed to Cambodian families, which Mr. Adam said was a consequence of an approximately 8 percent increase in the market price for Cambodian cows and goats.

“It costs about $400 for a cow and $120 for a goat, and if the price keeps increasing, donors will stop providing animals to Cambodia for the festival and will choose to donate to other countries like Burma,” Mr. Adam said, adding that cows of comparable quality are sold in Burma for between $250 and $300, while goats cost between $60 and $70.

“There needs to be more investment in raising cows and goats so that we can increase the supply in order to drive down the price so that donors will feel more comfortable donating them to the people for the festival,” he said.

Ahmad Khair, the chairman of Malaysia’s Ikatan Mahabbah Muslimin, said his organization’s contribution dropped this year due to the price of the animals.

“This year, we distributed less than last year because the price of the cow in Cambodia has risen. Of course, this is a big concern…and we hope that Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian government take measures to reduce the cost,” Mr. Ahmad said.

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