Show of Solidarity in
By Ras H. Siddiqui
for earthquake victims at Downtown Mosque
In an unprecedented display
of unity and caring, the greater Muslim and Pakistani community
of the Sacramento region took advantage of Friday/Juma prayers
plus the breaking of the fast Iftar gatherings and raised
just over $100,000 for the victims of the biggest natural
disaster to hit Pakistan after 1970. Never before has this
reporter witnessed such an outpouring of caring from this
community as he did with the twin concern for Hurricane Katrina
and now this disaster in Pakistan. Not since the Bosnia crisis
has there been such unity amongst the Muslims here.
The scene at the downtown “V Street” Mosque on
October 14 was especially moving. A Dua/Prayer was held for
the many dead and the homeless resulting from this 7.6 killer
quake. What was most remarkable was seeing not just the few
affluent but the many struggling members of our community,
all donating money to the less fortunate in their country
of origin. Children were especially generous. Close to $15,000
were raised here after Juma prayers. Both the Pakistan Association
and the Muslim Mosque Association members were actively seeking
support for this cause.
fund collection at V Street Mosque
community members at SALAM
The scene at Masjid Annur on 65th Street was reported to be
just as touching. This is a very large Mosque and our Arab
brothers were just as generous there. $21,000 was raised before
and after prayers here and for that we Pakistanis are extremely
Last but not at all the least leaders representing the Muslim
community in the Sacramento region assembled at Iftar at the
SALAM Community Center for a quickly planned and executed
evening event. Here, members of the Arab, Bosnian, Indian-Muslim,
Iranian and the Pakistani community who are blessed with a
degree of affluence had collected over $63,000 in donations
between Iftar and Taraweeh prayers.
At the SALAM event, after the recitation from the Holy Qura’n
by Imam AbdelAzeez Dr. Arif Seyal said a few words. “For
some the suffering is over but for many others it has just
begun,” he said. Young Azvar Hussain next discussed
the earth’s plate movements and the cause for earthquakes
and went on to make an appeal for quick help.
“Winter starts around November 15,” he said. “We
have exactly a month to go. We are losing the battle in small
villages,” he added.
A spokesperson from the Islamic Relief organization gave a
detailed presentation on the organization’s efforts
thus far for helping the victims of this disaster. Naeem Syed
made a good effort in promoting Edhi International Foundation
and the work that it is doing in Pakistan and beyond. “You
can trust them. The job will be done. Your money will be well
spent,” he said.
Muzaffarbad’s own and
well known Sacramento area physician Dr. Asghar Hussain explained
his feelings. He said that in his conversations with his Kashmiri
kinfolk back home, he found that the extent of the disaster
included the deaths of Bank Managers, Judges, Police Chiefs
etc. He also talked about the 2.5 million left homeless. “It
will be years before these people can be rehabilitated,”
Dr. Metwalli Amer, one of the pillars of SALAM also expressed
his sentiments on the occasion. He asked everyone to try to
imagine being homeless. “Please help generously. Thank
you,” he said.
Irfan Haq, Asif Haq and moderator/co-organizer T. Sami Siddiqui
also spoke. Irfan closed the event with a special Dua/Prayer
for the victims of this calamity.
To conclude this report, one cannot forget our community children
or the young men and women at SALAM for their efforts. Hassan
Minhaj, Basil Siddiqui, Anam Khan, Tanya Syed and Michael
Lucien all made us very proud during their short speeches.
With caring kids like these, our future in America is in good
hands. And who is Micheal Lucien? A young African-American
non-Muslim kid from Jesuit High School, who has joined Basil
in fasting during the entire month of Ramadan with him, in
a show of solidarity. There is hope for this world! Thanks
Sacramento for supporting those in need.
(This report has been shortened to reflect the space limitations
in Pakistan Link due to the huge amount of reports already
coming in related to South Asian earthquake relief. Next week
(Inshallah) we will cover the San Francisco Bay Area ).