A Sacramento Eid Celebration with a Difference
By Ras H. Siddiqui
(Left): Assembly Member Dave Jones receives Eid present from Jawed Iqbal. (Right): Eid dinner is served
The end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, was celebrated at several venues in Sacramento, California with a great deal of enthusiasm. The area can boast of a large Muslim population, numbering in the thousands, including some who can claim that their family has been here for a hundred years when a pioneering group of South-Asian Punjabis mainly Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus came to settle in California’s Central Valley at the dawn of the last century.
Immigration from the 1960’s onwards swelled the ranks of the Muslim population of the area as people from the Arab world, Persia and others joined the South-Asian and the African-American Muslims that now make this area their home. The downtown Sacramento V-Street Mosque is amongst the oldest in the United States and is often the focus of Eid festivities.
This year once again, Sacramento Muslims at the SALAM center held a fine Eid festival on Sunday, October 5th for which Tariq Munir and Saeed Ahmed and their volunteer team deserve kudos, as our kids remember the day fondly with activities such as face-painting, giant slides and bounce houses making quite an impression. All-American cotton candy, ice cream and ethnic foods were very much in demand on a perfect fall day.
(Left): The Eid gathering in Elk Grove. (Right): Kids celebrate Eid at SALAM
And one is glad to report that another event which was held on Friday, October 10th was also of significance. It was an Eid celebration with a difference at the Kabob Palace in Elk Grove (South of Sacramento) where fine Afghan food was served at a gathering of local Muslim leaders invited by California Assembly Member Dave Jones from the 9th District. The event was sponsored by Comcast, Kaiser Permanente and T Mobile and co-sponsored by the local CAIR Chapter. This gathering was different because it is usually Muslims who invite local leaders to such events. This time, Assembly Member Jones invited Muslims to celebrate Eid with him, reversing the established norm.
Starting off the program, Assembly Member Jones wished a happy Eid Mubarak to everyone. And if that was unique for the area, after the customary recitation from the Qur’an in Arabic by Imam Azeez, another first with Dave followed by his reading the English translation of what Imam Azeez had recited! Stressing leadership for all and helping to empower the underrepresented, Rep. Jones admired the outreach activity of groups like the Muslim American Society and CAIR which he said had increased his own understanding of our community.
The evening program was moderated by CAIR’s Basim Elkarra and addressed by Masud Monfared, Kamran Amin, Dina El-Nakhal, Dr. Metwalli Amer, Rashid Ahmad and Javed Iqbal, who presented a book as an Eid present to Assembly Member Jones.
The event closed with a word of thanks from our host and music from the “Flowers of the Nile ” trio.
It was heartening to note that Assembly Member Dave Jones made it a point to support all of his voting public including Muslims (who by the way also happen to be very patriotic Americans). America’s strength is represented in its diversity. The good Assembly Member is keenly aware of that fact. He is also known for his strong support for patient privacy, civil rights, environmental issues, health care and the protection of Hmong people in Laos. An “Eid Mubarak” greeting from him was not only welcome but deserved the standing ovation that he received from our community.