Sacramento Area Fundraisers Collect $200,000 for Flood Victims
By Ras H. Siddiqui
The Pakistani and Muslim community of the greater Sacramento area mobilized quickly and have collected approximately $200,000 for victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan that have left millions homeless and lacking food. The threat of the spread of disease and the loss of both crops and livestock has left many Pakistanis with little chance of economic recovery this year. And with news of a slow response from the international community, Pakistani-Americans along with their friends in the American Muslim community have stepped forward once again.
Fundraising started immediately from the Downtown Muslim Mosque on V Street
on the first Friday prayer after news of this calamity reached us. Juma prayers are more widely attended during the month of Ramadan, and both these and Iftar gatherings were used to get people together.
The first formal event was held at the SALAM Community Center on August 25 th.
At a program put together by the Pakistani Friends of SALAM over $65,000 was collected with the help of the congregation and the support from the SALAM Board of Trustees. The community also got a chance to see the brand new and almost complete Mosque at this site, something that our whole community can be proud of. Thanks are in order to all who contributed to this event. A moving speech by Imam Azeez helped a great deal along with appeals by T. Sami Siddiqui and Azmat Siddiqui. Imam Azeez pointed out that we in the American Muslim community take too much for granted sometimes because we are blessed in this country. From the grim video presentation shown earlier, he added, “It could have been you, the guy holding up two kids, trying to save them.” He also pointed out that in Sacramento people live in a flood plain and one never knows how circumstances would unfold.
The second fundraiser was held at Masjid Annur in the south area on Friday, August 28 th after Juma prayers. Imam Mahmoud Abdelhafez made a heart stirring appeal to the huge congregation at this relatively large mosque. “Yes we care for the Ummah,” he said. “We help and support each other. It is the Ummah suffering. I hope that Allah (swt) moves our hearts.” The fundraising pretty much lasted till late as over $60,000 was collected for flood victims in Pakistan here that day.
The last fundraiser that this scribe could attend was put together by the Pakistani American Association of Sacramento on Saturday, August 29 th at the Downtown V Street Mosque, founded by Pakistani Muslims around the time of the 1947 partition of India, making this venue a local landmark. Even before the event, the Mosque congregation had raised around $40,000 and the numbers were still coming in at the time of this writing. On this occasion Imam Qasmi said that the Ummat is one and if one part is hurt then the pain should be felt everywhere. He said that people have lost everything and they need help. One would not be surprised if another $20,000 was not added by the Pakistan Association fundraising here. The Davis Mosque/Islamic Center has already raised $15,000 for flood victims in Pakistan earlier.
Reports from Stockton , Live Oak and Yuba City have not come in yet and will have to wait for another report. But it would be safe to assume that even without them the Sacramento fundraising numbers would have touched the $200,000 mark.
To conclude, it appears that once again the local Masjids are taking the initiative and the month of Ramadan is inspiring many non-Pakistanis to donate for this cause too. The $100,000 donation recently announced by Intel Corporation is a case in point.
Clothing and other usable items are being collected for shipment locally by the Hidaya Foundation from the Bay Area. It sure makes one proud to see everyone pitching in to help.