ACTNews, ATAMBUA – Laden Ukap (30) was seen busy loading a cow carcass onto a pickup truck. Along with his buddy Matias Kameon, he gladly involved himself in the qurbani meat distribution for the people of Atambua. Although Kameon and he didn’t celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, but they immersed themselves in the joy of the celebration.
“We are happy to help distributing the qurbani meat to the needy,” said Ukap.
Here in Atambua, capital of Belu Regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Muslims and non-Muslims coexist peacefully. On the day of Eid-ul-Adha, everybody is happy to welcome this festive occasion.
Such happiness was felt by Global Qurban – ACT team during the qurbani meat distribution from Wednesday (8/22) to Friday (8/24) in Atambua. In Hidayatullah mosque, where the qurbani meat distribution was centered, fellow Atambuans of different faiths interacted warmly with each other.
“We are a multicultural society. The Muslims are a minority because most of the natives are Christians. But the people here have been living in tolerance for six or seven years. The Muslims are allowed to worship in peace. Even we are able to call the azan using loudspeakers,” said Jumardi, the local Imam.
Jumardi further explained that keeping the harmony between people of different faiths is essential. Interreligious discussions are common as a medium to exchange ideas and keeping the peace among fellow Atambuans. Every time a religious event, especially Islamic events, people of adherents of other religions are invited to participate in guarding the security. When the Christians are having their celebrations, the Muslims will also help by guarding the security.
“For example, on the day of Eid, Catholics, Protestants, and people of other religions attended the gathering. They help us pack and distribute the meat. Such activities help us to strengthen the tolerance here,” he explained.
Qurbani unifies the people of Atambua
Atambua is a city of various ethnicities: Timor, Rote, Sabu, Flores, etc. Most of them work as employees, merchants, and farmers. The Muslim population in the area consists of Muslims who came from other areas and converts, especially from the former East Timorese exodus in 1999.
“The Muslims who came here from other areas mostly work as merchants. Their earning is enough to support them. However, that’s not the case with Muslim converts of former East Timorese in many parts of Atambua. They have no income. The farmers usually work on the field of their neighbors or on the government’s land. Our convert brothers and sisters need to be helped,” said Muhammad Yusuf, a board member of Hidayatullah mosque.
Yusuf has lived for 39 years in Atambua, witnessing how hard life has been for the former East Timorese, especially the Muslim converts that once lived moving from one place to another without steady income. Yusuf was grateful that Global Qurban paid attention to these converts.
“The qurbani from Global Qurban was extremely helpful for the people of Atambua, especially the needy and the Muslim converts. For our brothers and sisters, the Muslim converts, meat is luxury. Alhamdulillah, they were able to enjoy qurbani meat and the amount is more than the typical qurbani packages they received before Global Qurban arrived,” he said.
Gratitude was also expressed by Laden Ukap and Matias Kameon who are Christians. “We thank Global Qurban for distributing meat to those who can’t afford it and the needy.”
Atambua showed us how the harmony among ethnicities and religious adherents can be strengthened through simple acts, such as the qurbani moment last week. This is Global Qurban’s effort to make qurbani not only a moment of sharing, but also a moment of strengthening bond among people of NTT.