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Muslims flock to prayer service to celebrate end of Ramadan

Ramadan month of fasting ends with festival of Eid

The mood was festive Tuesday morning as Tri-Valley Muslims, dressed in their traditional finest, poured into the Alameda County Fairgrounds to celebrate Eid, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan. Over the loudspeaker, Arabic chanting proclaimed, "God is great."

Local Muslims come from the Mideast, India-Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Central Asia, and some were born and raised in America, said Faraz Sattar, one of the organizers from the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center. Members of the Muslim Community Center of the East Bay, located in Pleasanton, also participated.

The Tri-Valley is a strong community for families, which is why Muslims fit in so well, Sattar said.

"We fit into that description, here and back home as well," he said.

The men went, prayer rugs in hand, to pray in the building labeled "Brothers." Adjacent buildings were for "Sisters" and "Sisters with Strollers." The large open square had the ground covered with a tarp to accommodate the overflow.

Donations were collected as families entered, and plastic bags were handed out to hold people's shoes while they prayed.

The Imam led the Eid Prayer around 9:30, followed by a sermon by Dr. Nazeer Ahmed. Afterward another prayer was held for those who had missed the first. Then it was social time, with food booths lining the square and children's games.

Ayesha Sheikh, a woman in her 20s who moved to the East Bay from Texas when she was 5, comes to the Eid celebration at the Fairgrounds each year. She had to leave early today to go to work in Santa Clara, where she does marketing for a digital textbook company.

"It's definitely grown," Sheikh said about the Eid Prayer event. "The San Ramon Valley Islamic Community has expanded."

The details have been worked out over the years, she added, such as handing out plastic bags for the shoes, and adding a special prayer venue for women with children.

Amna Suharwardy of Danville compared her hennaed hands with her young friend, Shireen Rahman, 22 months, of San Ramon. They were both part of a gathering Sunday where the henna was applied in intricate designs, an Eid tradition. Shireen looked at her hand and said, "Flower!" Amna recalled.

Both were dressed in colorful traditional clothing, and Suharwardy recalled how fun it was as a child to wear the bright, glittery outfits and to dress up her younger sisters.

The gathering also becomes a "hug fest," noted Sattar, with the embrace going side to side, right, left, right.

"It is a custom in our religion," he said.

Ramadan and Eid are set by the lunar calendar, he explained.

"The Islamic Society of North America calculated the dates using the latest techniques," he said.

Sattar, looking around at the crowd, estimated that this year the event had drawn close to 3,000, rather than the 2,000-2,500 expected.

He is also on the board of Mashal, an organization dedicated to the welfare of Pakistanis that is sponsoring a "Walk to Support our Fallen Heroes," to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. It will take place at Central Park in San Ramon, with $100 donation per family going toward the 100 Club of Contra Costa County, which helps families of fallen police officers and firefighters. For more information, visit www.mymashal.org.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jibraeel
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm

There is no GOD but Allah, Mohamed is Allah's highest and greatest messanger.

Praise Allah, his messanger Mohamed, and the Qur'an Ayat Al-Kursi.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

Jibraeel,

Thank you for sharing your belief system. Here in the US you can believe what you wish and others can have different beliefs. Most here believe different than you do so does that make us infidels in our own country. Always wondered about that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 31, 2011 at 7:52 am

Jibraeel,

You should be thanking GOD, not Allah, for your ability to have the freedom to worship the way you want in the United States which, by the way, was founded on CHRISTIAN principles!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anna
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 31, 2011 at 9:26 am

They are here---read the Quran---see the plan---cats often PlY with their prey before devouring it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christa
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 31, 2011 at 9:31 am

Keep posting-jibraeel-I concur with Ana. Shariah law has crept I to and is destroying parts of European cities. Pushing for a mosque in NY near the Muslim attack site is part of the plan...where is the "sensitivity?" History dictates destroy then mark the conquest.... Wake up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

Me thinks Jibreel is taunting the lowly Christian infidels. There seems to be a plan alright and I don't think it is one that we will welcome. To even suggest this is sooo politically incorrect, but they count on exactly this to further one cause and keep another in check.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Melvin Yikesman
a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

Muslims!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Dear Editor,

A time of fasting is over and I am quite sure some excellent food is being served. How about some recipes from the Muslim community? I have had Malaysian, Indonesian and Persian food from such times of feasts. Why not have your readers learn how to make such dishes?

In my Norse heritage, the ancient word GOD stood for the combined good (goodwill) in all things past, present and future existing in spirit at one moment in relative time. More simply said GOD is within all of us as we share one world in peace with humanity and justice for all.

Of Ralph saying "let's eat!"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2011 at 8:49 am

Do not want Muslim recipes developed by women who must adher to the superiority of their "men.." and the concurrent beatings called for in the Quran. Hey editor---why not do an unbiased expose' of Islam? Oh---worried you might end up like van gogh and others for exposing truth?


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