MAS-Social Services Foundation Pre-Ramadan Dinner in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui

The Muslim American Society (Sacramento Region) Social Services Foundation (MAS-SSF) held a pre-Ramadan Dinner-Fundraiser at the Mack-Powell Event Center in California’s Capital City on Sunday, June 1 st to highlight the need for services that are often overlooked by our immigrant communities. But the need for these services is very much there and is available just an online click ( http://mas-ssf-sac.org/ ) or phone call (916-486-8626) away. The kind of services offered are sometimes available in the mainstream society, but are they merged with our languages, cultural understanding, and religious beliefs? That is where MAS-SSF has come to play an important role.

According to the MAS-SSF website “Social Services Foundation is a non-profit foundation that aims to aid families of the Sacramento community at large and the Muslim community in particular, who need social services in accordance with all applicable United States and California laws and regulations. When serving the Muslim community in particular, the foundation shall abide with the principal of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the best of its interpretation.”

Sister Durriya Syed, an active member of this organization adds, “In our Muslim community, we are subject to several issues that could require counseling, such as issues with immigration or the potential adverse impact of the aftermath of 9/11 on the psyche of the Muslim community. While the Muslim community needs counseling, many are often hesitant to visit counselors. However, the community should avail itself of the counseling services available to it, as Islam recommends seeking guidance and counsel. The Muslim community is dealing with immigration issues, acculturation and identity problems, turmoil /war in their home countries, grievances of leaving family behind, and other marital and parenting issues. Counseling is also a very effective tool when an individual is facing worries, stresses, transitions, experiencing different life stages, going through illnesses or just needs someone to listen.”

MAS-SSF provides Counseling services for Individuals, Marital, Teen, Parenting, and Family. It also provides Domestic Violence guidance, Prevention and Early Intervention Education, plus a Substance Abuse Support Group, Parents with Special Needs Children Support Group, Referrals to professional and community agencies. Pre-Marital Counseling for engaged or newly married couples is also provided.

The fundraising dinner event was well-attended but there was certainly room for greater participation. It started off with ample time for networking. The proceedings began with a Qur'an recitation and an introduction by Gulshan Yusufzai, the Executive Director of MAS-SSF. A welcoming address by Dr Abdullah Ahram, Board President, was extremely well received. Next, an MAS-SSF presentation by Guslhan Yusufzai, assisted by individual project volunteers, revealed the valuable work that the organization is doing locally and why it needs to be supported. For spiritual guidance next, two Imams - Sheikh Mohamed Kamel and Aamir Nazir from Sacramento and Folsom respectively - offered both words of wisdom and encouragement before the fundraising began during which they were joined by Mohammad Aladra. The fundraiser included a silent auction which continued throughout the evening. The final amount collected is not known as of this writing but it was substantially less than the $71,000 targeted to fully fund services in the community, leaving a shortfall which will need to be made up somehow.

The MAS-SSF board (Dr Abdullah Ahram, President, Nassiba Cherif, Iffat Hussain, Dr Ahmed Ibrahim, Najmi Jafari and Faryal Said), volunteers and support personnel all need to be commended for their efforts. This is a non-profit foundation that targets aid to families in the Sacramento community at large and the Muslim community in particular. Possibly one of the most important aspects of this SSF service is that it is available in many languages including Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Hindi-Urdu, Pashto, Sinhalese, Somali, Spanish, Tamil and even American Sign Language. It deserves much more support than it is getting. The Muslim community suffers from many of the same problems that the rest of society is facing, so let us not hide this fact and assist MAS-SSF. Donations are accepted online through the website linked at the beginning of this report.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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