Islamic Society of East Bay Fundraiser Draws Large Crowd
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB), popularly known as the Lowry Mosque, held a fundraiser Friday (December 7, 2012) at the Chandni Restaurant, Fremont/Newark to raise funds for urgent repairs for its decaying buildings.

The event drew a large crowd. The ISEB had arranged an elaborate program which began with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by ISEB school students Mustafa Ali and Mobin Hotaki. English translation was rendered by Tasal Farhad Noman.

Sunday School students – Irfan Ahmed, Manal Ahmed and Sidra Ahmed – presented a Helping Hand song, Children of the World.

Wajahat Abdullah, the ISEB President, welcomed the guests on behalf of the Islamic Center. Dr Khalid Baig, Chairman of the Fundraising Committee, spoke about the problems facing the Islamic Center which has completed two phases and the third phase is being planned. There was a Powerpoint presentation about the deteriorating condition of facilities at the Center for which at least $100,000 dollars were needed immediately.

Sheikh Alauddin Al-Bakri was the keynote speaker on the occasion. He recalled the days of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) when companions of the prophet (Sahabas) left their homes in Mecca for the sake of Allah and their faith. “It was a big commitment to leave everything for the sake of Allah and we should learn from the example of these Sahabas.

“Because these Sahabas were serious today you and I are Muslims. It was their dedication that we are Muslims today,” he said adding, “it was the Sahabas’ sacrifice that Islam reached Palestine, Egypt, India and China.”

He pointed out that Islam would not have spread to such far flung places if our ancestors were not serious-minded. “Hence it is our duty to be dedicated to our faith and follow the example of these Sahabas.”

After 13 years of suffering in Mecca when the Sahabas reached Madina they did not relax and started building their own houses or businesses but their first commitment was to raise a mosque in Qaba, Sheikh Al-Bakri recalled and added: “You know where is Bab Mecca. It is not in Mecca but it is in the Indonesian town of Banda Aceh that was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.”

“The Banda Aceh town was devastated. Only two mosques survived the 2004 tsunami,” he said, adding that the mosques survived because they were built from reinforced cement while most of the town houses were not so strongly built. He argued that the people of the town gave priority to building mosques with strong material while they had little means to construct their own houses with strong material.

“It was not a miracle but a testimony to their faith. They gave donations to build the mosques with cement although their own houses were not built of cement,” Sheikh Al Bakri said and asked the audience to think and act likewise.

Sheikh Al Bakri praised the Muslim community members of the San Francisco Bay Area for building such a beautiful mosque which shows their commitment to their belief. He appealed to them to show the same commitment by donating generously for the repairs and expansion of the mosque.

More than 60,000 dollars were raised at the fundraiser with some donors offering 5,000 dollars.

The ISEB Mosque was one of the few purpose built mosques in the nation when it was conceived in 1980s.The first phase of the mosque was completed at ta cost of 1.2 million dollars with 10,000 square feet covered area. The second phase was completed at the cost of 2.6 million dollars with 13,000 square feet covered area.

The Center needs to be expanded because of the growing Muslim population in the area. The ISEB board has an ambitious third phase plan that will cost about 4.5 million dollars with 15,000 square feet covered area. The Islamic center will have a total covered area of 38,000 square feet when the third phase is completed.



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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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