Dozens Show up at SCMCO’s Table Tennis Tournament

Garden Grove, CA: Almost one hundred Southern California community ‘ping pong players’ gathered on February 4, 2012 at the Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOC) from across 22 various mosques to attend the “First Joint Masjid Table Tennis Tournament”. The tournament was organized by the Southern California Muslim Community Organization (SCMCO) as a collaborative initiative to widen the Muslim community’s sphere of activities and to strengthen the bonds within. SCMCO’s mission is to organize activities and mobilize the community to experience cross-pollination between the various and distinct Masaajid ‘territorial’ boundaries as was stated by a few of the tournament’s committee organizers, Nadia Hassan, Ayaz Kaleemullah and Samina Haq.

As the tournament got underway, the competitors began swinging their paddles at 10:00 AM sharp and the ping pong balls kept flying back and forth between the players until 10 pm that night. The event spokesman Alam Akthar opened the proceedings with a heartfelt welcome to the players and explained the rules of engagement and the layout of the event.

“This tournament, clearly, was not about a Ping-Pong game or being entertained; it was about coming together as a community”, as was stated by event organizers, Mohammad Qazi from Islamic Center of Irvine and Annan Aboul-Nasr from Islamic Institute of Orange County.

The tournament was the second event to be arranged by SCMCO since its inception. Earlier this year, SCMCO hosted an intra-Masjid Eid Festival with over 5000 visitors joining the celebration at Irvine Regional Park. It was a collaborative effort by six local So Cal Masaajid - ICYL, ICOI, ISCN, IIOC, CIVIC and ISOC. SCMCO plans to continue to organize such events annually with the hope of increasing the number of participating local Masaajid in the future, said event organizers Arif Hydri and Shahid Rehmat Ullah.

One week preceding the tournament, several mosques hosted the Ping-Pong matches locally and sent their community’s best Ping-Pong player to compete on the day of the tournament. There was much excitement and anticipation during the semi-final competitions leading up to the final matches. The first Semi-Final match was played between Ali Basit, representing the Torrance Islamic Institute and Eyad Aljaal, representing the Islamic Institute of Orange County; with Eyad Aljaal defeating his opponent. In the second Semi-Final match, Syed Amjad Naqvi, representing the Orange County Islamic Foundation, took on Salman Nasir, representing Chino Valley Islamic Center (CIVIC), who was defeated in an intense and exciting match by his opponent Syed Amjad Naqvi. The final match was played between Eyad Aljall (IIOC) and Syed Amjad Naqvi (OCIF), with Eyad Aljaal claiming the championship.

Prizes were presented by ISOC President Hasan Siddiqui, and SCMCO Organization Committee members Ayaz Kallemullah and Dawar Naqvi . Spokesperson Alam Akthar honored the late Table Tennis Champion Sayeeda Sultana, who was a national table tennis titleholder in India and Pakistan and was the youngest contender to compete in the World Cup. SCMCO Chairperson Dawar Naqvi memorialized the late Sayeeda Sultana by presenting a Life Time Achievement Certificate to her son Ali Basit. Brother Dawar closed by thanking all the players, the organizers and the community members for their contribution in organizing nhe event. He also expressed gratitude to ALLAH (s) for making this event a success.

The evening concluded with a prayer shared by Dr. Ahmed Soboh from the Chino Valley Islamic Center: “I have no words to describe my feelings. May Allah always gather us all for the benefit of this Ummah.”

Asmaa Shawky, organizing committee member, representing OCIF expressed her thoughts, “My entire family enjoyed the day. We ask Allah (s) to provide us more opportunities to bring our hearts closer towards one another in His path.”

SCMCO congratulates the Table Tennis champions:

1 st Place: Brother Eyad Aljaal, Islamic Institute of Orange County, Anaheim

1 st Place: Sister Vaidehi Majmundar, Islamic Center of Irvine, Irvine

2nd Place: Brother Syed Amjad Naqvi from Orange County Islamic Foundation, Mission Viejo

2nd Place: Sister Nadia Shabana from Orange County Islamic Foundation, Mission Viejo

3rd Place: Brother Salman Nasir from Chino Valley Islamic Center, Chino

3rd Place: Sister Julia Aboulhosn from Orange County Islamic Foundation, Mission Viejo.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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