Show of Solidarity in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
SALAM earthquake fundraiser
Prayers 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.

Eathquake fund collection at V Street Mosque
Young 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 thankful.
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.

Azvar Hussain

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,” he said.
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 ).



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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