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