AMV Organizes Day of Solidarity and Independence Day Celebrations
By Norbie Kumagai

L to R : Commander Larry Shapiro, Father John Boll, Muhammad Usman Sadiq, Samina Faheem Sundas, Riaz Ahmad and Shahid Khan

American Muslim Voice and the Mosque Association had invited all to an open house of the Woodland Mosque on July 3, 2005. As most church services on Sunday are finished around noon, an invitation was sent to all church leaders and their members to "worship at your church and have lunch at the mosque Sunday July 3, 2005". A sizeable number of churchgoers came to the mosque and enjoyed a BBQ lunch with characteristic Muslim hospitality.
Later there was an independent day celebration program. Mr. Khalid Saeed, the Northern California Director of American Muslim Voice (AMV), opened the program with a brief welcome speech. He said that AMV and the mosque association had organized the program to celebrate the independence day and show solidarity with fellow Americans. While welcoming fellow Americans of all other faiths he said that the gathering of Jews, Christians at the mosque was a proof that people of different religions, races and colors can get along.

A section of the audience

Qari Tasawwar Iqbal, the Imam of the Woodland Mosque, presented a recitation from the Qur’an which was very appropriate for the occasion: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has
full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Qur'an 49:13"
The principal of the Woodland Islamic Mosque, Mr.Muhammad Usman Sadiq, speaking on the occasion stated that the diverse cultures represented at the gathering, with individuals coming from many ethnic and cultural backgrounds, were a source of strength. Muslim Americans are responsible citizens and greatly contribute to our society. In his capacity as principal of the Mosque Sunday School, he tries to impart not only religious teachings but also gives lessons on being good human beings and responsible citizens.
Father John Bole from the Holy Rosary Church in Woodland, emphasized that the inscription on the Statue of Liberty symbolizes that the United States is the "golden door" to people seeking freedom and happiness. He said that the people of all races and religions came through the Else Island and even today this country is for all citizens with all rights.
Mr. Larry Shapiro, Commander of the American Legion Post 77, briefly spoke about the American Legions and the "building of bridges" between different communities. He said that the purpose of the American legion is "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness." In the past couple of years, the American Legion in Woodland has been interacting with American Muslim Voice and other members of the Muslim community.
Mr. Shahid Chaudhy, President of the American Muslim Voice Sacramento, introduced the keynote speaker, Ms. Samina Faheem, Executive Director of American Muslim Voice.

L to R : Commander Larry Shapiro, Khalid Saeed, Mary Phillips and other guests

In her speech, Ms. Samina Faheem shared her experiences of working with different communities after September 11 which have resulted in forging lifelong friendships. As part of this "coalition building" we need to continue the interfaith dialogues. The goal of such efforts is to create "a culture of peace, freedom and acceptance". We need to "bridge the gap" by honoring the past struggles of other ethnic, religious and cultural communities. Showing patriotism on July 4th is more than simply "flying a flag", we need to teach others to show respect "for our civil rights and constitutional protections" which will ultimately create a "culture of peace".

At the end of the program Mr. Riaz Ahmad, President of the Mosque Association Woodland, briefly talked about inculcating a spirit of brotherhood among various groups as stressed in the verses recited by Imam Tasawwar Iqbal earlier. He thanked every one for coming to the open house and showing friendship and solidarity with the Muslim community. He also thanked all the volunteers who helped organize the program and those who made the financial contributions.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.