AMV Woodland Annual Peace Picnic Draws Large Multifaith Crowd
By Khalid Saeed
Pictures above: Glimpses of the AMV
Woodland Annual Peace Picnic
American Muslim Voice Woodland Chapter held its second annual multifaith peace picnic on Saturday, May 23, 2009, at Fren Park. Like last year, the picnic was well attended by different faith and ethnic groups. It attracted people from near and abroad.
AMV Woodland Chapter President Muhammad Usman Sadiq was MC of the event that began with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Qari Amir Hussein of Woodland Mosque.
Unlike last year's very hot day this year the weather was just perfect and Fren Park in Woodland proved a great venue for the kids to play and the families to enjoy.
Cooperation and participation by different communities was admirable. It surely helped in brining different communities together.
Skip Davis, Mayor of city of Woodland, despite his very busy schedule due to memorial day weekend activities around town, came to support and talked about the importance of these events. The Mayor revealed he has been in this area for a long time but he was impressed to see a letter from a Muslim that showed that the Muslims in this area were present during the Civil War. “So the Muslim community is not new to this area but they are more visible these days.”
A special thank to Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto who cancelled an appointment in Bay area to attend the picnic and address the audience. Like Skip, his talk was very inclusive and supportive. The Sheriff said that like Muslims he also belongs to a minority since he is a third generation Mexican American. He said he understands minorities’ issues and anxieties. Sheriff Ed Prieto went on to say that his door is always open to the community.
Rev. Bill Schroder of Woodland appreciated the efforts of the Muslim community to bring closer various faith groups.
Also Bishop Bill Marble, a Woodland Council Member, shared his long-standing friendship and interaction with the Muslim community of Woodland and his active participation and support of the community events.
Rev. Ardith Allread of United Methodist Church also attended the picnic to express his support for AMV’s multi-faith event.
Michel Hirsch of Davis Synagogue entertained the audience with a Hebrew song, Shalom.
Trudy L. Frazen of Amercin Luthran Church suggested that the guests, particularly kids, should make presentations. At her suggestion, several people availed of the opportunity and expressed their views. Zulfikar Sindhu stressed the need for people-to-people contact to know each other, to understand and get along. Another young student, Farah Amja,d said that we should always think above cultural and religious prejudices.
Sandra Briggs, Librarian Woodland Public Library, was the official face painter and the story teller of the event. Dozens of kids flocked to her work station under a tree and had a lot of fun.
Mr. Jim Smith, editor of local Daily "The Daily Democrat," also attended the event briefly with his wife Penny to express support to the inter-faith event.
Rev. Norman Callaway of Holy Rosary Woodland and Dr. Hamza Elnikhal from Davis also showed up to extend their support for the event.
This showed every one's commitment to community building and appreciation of the event. We are very grateful to them for their gesture.
Also special thanks are due to Samina Gardezi of San Ramon, Mr. and Mrs. Abdus Sattar Ghazali of Fremont, Mr. and Mrs. Talat Mahmood of Modesto, and Sohail Anwar family from Elk Grove who drove a long way to attend the picnic.
As the word is getting out all supporters of peace and harmony are taking notice and supporting AMV's activities. Community leaders from Davis California, Drs. Zakauddin and Shireen Vera of Davis not only attended the picnic but gave very useful advice to young ladies of Woodland community present at the park. They plan to work with and support American Muslim Voice very closely and we are looking forward to it. Mr. and Mrs. Talat Mahmood of Modesto also promised to actively support the AMV’s mission.
Many individuals not only worked very hard in the planning and execution of the event but financially supported it. A special thanks to Riaz Ahmad, President, Islamic Center Woodland; Muhammad Saleem, member board of directors, Woodland Islamic Center; Principal, Islamic School Woodland Mosque and AMV Woodland Chapter President Muhammad Usman Sadiq for their awesome dedication in organizing the event. Others who helped in making the event successful included Muddasar Rifaqat and Mubashar Rifaqat, Umar Saeed, Rizwana Saleem, Abdul Farooq, Faisal Nadeem, and our musician and sound engineer Abrar Ali who is always available to help in any activity when we need him.
Special thanks to Mian Mohammad Anwar, proprietor of Shaz Restaurant, Sacramento, that provided subsidized catering. We are very grateful to Tri-Counties Bank for its financial support for the event.