Sacramento California Celebrates Eid
Ras H. Siddiqui
Eid was celebrated with
fervor at a number of locations in the Sacramento
on Friday, December 6, 2002. Especially noteworthy was the gathering at one
of the oldest continuous places of Muslim worship in the United States and
the western hemisphere, the Downtown "V Street Mosque" whose
foundations were laid by people from the Punjab
and NWFP areas of Pakistan more than half a
century ago. The mosque is to someday become a historical landmark as
it represents a Muslim community with almost a century of presence in
the Central Valley of California.
This year, in spite
of the increase in the number of prayer venues in the
area where Eid gatherings were held, the V Street mosque still had to
hold its usual two sessions of prayers because
close to two thousand worshippers and their
families created too much of an overflow for a single session. And
once again this year the Muslim Mosque Association needs to be
commended for its organizational skills and the
many volunteers who kept the between and after
prayer activities going smoothly at this facility deserve our
Imam Qasmi led the prayers and in his khutba address presented many words
of wisdom to a community that is still
reeling from the aftereffects of 9/11 and the real
or perceived erosion seen in civil liberties of Muslims since. Imam
Qasmi stressed the spiritual aspects of our faith with his usual
zeal, but also pointed out that the freedom of
religion that accompanies our lives here in the
United States does not find a parallel in many other countries.
He said that our religion is a personal journey and is not a clergy
oriented faith where people can be forced to
become good Muslims. He stressed the
need for tolerance and that Islam is a peaceful faith.
After prayers, it was great to observe the colorful attire of our
children and the festive atmosphere that prevailed
in the Mosque courtyard and spilled out onto V
Street. One could hear the Pashto, Urdu and Punjabi
languages being spoken along with English at various corners of this
speakers were also
spotted. And since this was a American gathering
of Muslims, a large amount of pizza was consumed along with other
ethnic foods by the worshippers after prayers. Islamic literature was
also readily available. Outsiders were welcome to
observe the event. We even had the pleasure of
having representatives from the local Sikh community present
to wish us well on this festive day. This
reporter next had the opportunity to visit another venue of Eid
celebrations, that at the Robertson Community Center in Sacramento.
African-American Muslims and those from many other parts of the world
had gathered together to the fine entertainment
provided. The Masjid Ibrahim appeared to be at the
forefront of this effort and it was touching to see
such a diverse gathering wishing us "Eid Mubark" with such
enthusiasm. These were just a couple of glimpses
from Eid celebrations in Sacramento. The Muslim
community here is growing at a steady rate and it comes as no
surprise that Pakistan-Americans remain very much in the limelight at
these celebrations. In closing, a very resounding
"Eid Mubarak" from Sacramento, California to all
of our readers.
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