San Jose Celebrates Eid in Style
By Ras H. Siddiqui
The mammoth Eid congregation at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on September 20
Since its inception in 1997, the South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA) has been meeting the needs of Silicon Valley ’s growing Muslim population along with a handful of other such institutions. San Jose over the years has attracted significant immigrant contributors to the area’s Hi-Tech industry of which many happen to be Muslims from South-Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia . And Eid offers a unique opportunity to see them together as huge numbers congregate for prayers and not to forget the social aspects of the occasion.
It was difficult to estimate the numbers present at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on September 20th, but in the thousands would be accurate guess, as Adeel Iqbal opened the event by acknowledging the presence of several local dignitaries who came to observe Muslims in prayer and to lend their support. City Council Members, the local Police and Fire Departments, Representatives from the Board of Supervisors and this time the Mayor of the City of San Jose Chuck Reed acknowledged not only the presence of our community but also its valuable contributions to the area.
Amongst a handful of dignitaries that spoke, Mayor Reed took the opportunity to call the region a beacon of peace and prosperity because we know how to get along with each other here and have learned to work together. He took pride in having the Muslim community amidst San Jose ’s diversity. “Eid Mubarak”, he said.
SBIA President Shafath Syed mentioned how truly blessed we were living here. He said that we (SBIA) love to see you at the Masjid and that bringing your kids is important. He also wished that the blessings of the occasion touch all of us.
Akbar Syed presented details of the new SBIA Evergreen Mosque Project. He said that this Eid we were celebrating the end of Ramadan plus the Evergreen project concurrently, increasing the joy. He said that Inshallah (God Willing) we will see a beautiful Mosque in the Evergreen Foothills soon.
Imam Tahir Anwar led the congregation in prayer once again. He stressed the need for continued spiritual cleansing even beyond Ramadan which he called a month of reflection. He also reminded everyone to remember the hungry and the needy at this time. He said that we (American Muslims) should be thankful because Allah has included us amongst the givers (not receivers). He also stressed four points: 1) Go to the Mosque 2) Support Muslim businesses 3) Invite a neighbor for a meal and 4) Have a family meal together every day.
After Eid prayers, a great deal of social interaction and festivities followed with a special emphasis on entertainment for kids. But in this economy, not everyone was in a position to celebrate. There are families in need even in Silicon Valley today, families who don’t have health care and are struggling to make ends meet. This writer was reminded of them while exiting the fairgrounds. So, on that somewhat somber note “Eid Mubarak” from San Jose, California, where the end of Ramadan and diversity blended well together and were celebrated with an acknowledgement of the challenges that some still face.