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Stockton Eid Mela
Report By Ras H. Siddiqui

March 03 The Pakistani-American Association of San Joaquin County held a gala Eid Mela

on Sunday February 16, 2003. In this effort they were helped by a enthusiastic crowd of close to 500 people including our community children in their festive best. And keeping with their annual tradition of inviting non-Muslims to this event some at the event brought their friends so that they could get a better understanding of what the Pakistani-American community of this area is all about.

  The evening started off with a social hour, followed by Tilawat (Recitation from the Koran) and a kid’s magic show. Dinner was served with compliments of Chandni Restaurant from Newark in the Bay area. The food was spicy but two city Mayors present seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. And entertainment had a similar enjoyable impact due to a Bhangra like performance by Mishi, an Asian-American who has really picked up on South Asian dance along with Pakistani-American fusion music.

Association President Mrs. Farkhanda Chaudhry was introduced by Master of Ceremonies Mr. Tariq Din (who did a fine job this evening). Mrs. Chaudhry welcomed everyone, especially the non-Muslims in the gathering and thanked them for coming to this event. She also wished everyone a hearty “Eid Mubarak”. She said that the Association was actively looking for new members and then proceeded to invite Mr. Shabbir Khan who also happens to be San Joaquin County Treasurer. Mr. Khan proceeded to present plaques of our community appreciation to Mayor Gary Allen Podesto of Stockton and Mayor Susan Hitchcock of Lodi. Both Mayors showed much appreciation for the cultural diversity of this area. “Thank you for being a part of the City of Stockton,” said Mayor Podesto. “I applaud you for your efforts,” said

Mayor Hitchcock, who also elaborated on the importance of education in any community and how she as a teacher appreciated how our community prioritized it.

The Executive Committee of the Association was also introduced. Farkhanda Chaudhry (President), Saiyed S. Ali (Secretary), Shakeel Ahmed (Treasurer), Tahir Sheikh (Social Secretary) along with Mohammed Ahmed, Shakir Awan, Ashraf Chaudhry, Shaiq Chishty, Tariq Din, Shabbir Khan and Waqar Rizvi all deserve a round of applause for projecting Pakistan and Pakistani-Americans in such a positive light in this area.  And we have to appreciate all the sponsors of whom Chandni Restaurant + Super Travel, Tariq Din, Khadim Hussain Jewelers, Liaqat Masood Khan, Sher Khan, Dr. Abdul W. Khan along with a others too numerous to name here. Pakistan-Chinese-Americans from Karachi, Linda and Jeffrey Phen DDS were included in the list. 

  Last but not least the headline entertainment was provided by T.J. KOOL  and his group. Jilani Sahib (TJ) has made quite an impression in this area and all of us including our Mayoral Guests and especially our community children seemed quite moved by his vocal talents plus the music provided by his band. I missed the dance by Sheeba and the door prizes but one thing is for sure, everyone was having quite a good time as I said my

goodbye to Shakoor Khan a longtime Stockton area community leader.

  So Eid Mubarak from Stockton. This Pakistan Association has done something special here for the community and Pakistan, by projecting a positive image of our people

in the San Joaquin valley of California. One can only hope that our other communities across America can also do something along similar lines by accurately presenting us as the family oriented fun loving people that we are. And what better occasion is there than to invite our non-Muslim friends over for a party than Eid?                     

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