Sacramento Community Continues to Remain Active and Vibrant
By Ras H Siddiqui
Eid prayers, Chand Raat celebrations, and Annual Salam Fall Banquet in Sacramento
Since the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha or the feast of sacrifice fell during the Thanksgiving weekend this year, just a day apart on Friday, Sacramento, California Pakistani and Muslim-American families celebrated both events with fervor starting with a “Chand Raat” at the La Sierra Community center on November 25 th. Thanksgiving gave many local families a chance to eat a lot and “Talk Turkey” on the 26 th and Eid prayers were held on Friday, November 27 th at various local mosques followed by more fine food consumption. This reporter was able to join the worshippers during prayer at the Downtown “ V Street ” Mosque on Eid and at the festivities at the SALAM Community Center on Sunday, November 29 th in the shadow of the under-construction mosque.
While this year millions of turkeys were consumed during Thanksgiving in American households, a percentage of them were Halal (the Muslim equivalent of Kosher) and the spices used in their preparation were sometimes as distinct as the palates of the people who prepared them. Besides mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, it was not surprising to see hummus, biryani or Kabuli naan being served during the meal.
During this Eid or festival of sacrifice, millions of sheep, goats and even camels were sacrificed throughout the Muslim world to remember the intended sacrifice of Ishmael by his father, the Prophet Abraham (replaced by a ram at the last minute). It is certainly a messy sight and not as sanitized as the turkeys we purchase from our grocery stores here. But it is certainly a time when some very poor people get to eat well (the meat is shared with family, friends and the poor). It is also a time of charity and goodwill, not unlike Christmas.
The Annual SALAM Fall Banquet on December 12 th ended this series of community activities in the Sacramento area. Over $200,000 was raised for the next phase of the mosque project which Mashallah is coming along quite well.
After Qur’anic recitation, Eemcee Asif Haq invited SALAM Board Chairman Farrukh Saeed who welcomed everyone. Dr. Anne Kjemtrup next offered her delightful insights on “What SALAM means to me?” Equally impressive were the youth presentations by Muzhda Ferouz and Kamran Islam. Following them Ms. Susan McKee offered her views on how this organization is viewed by the outside community. Dr. Metwalli Amer next presented the SALAM Distinguished Award to Farrukh Saeed which he graciously accepted. A video presentation on the work of this organization and a fundraiser conducted by Imam Azeez concluded the formalities and dinner followed.
The only drawback to all of these events is if you are watching your weight. Thanksgiving and Eid plus community banquets and now the coming Christmas and New Year season all together are almost enough for one to think vegetarian for a while. A belated Eid Mubarak and greetings for the coming holiday season from Sacramento , California.