Muslims Share their Faith on Christmas Eve in Sacramento - By: Ras H. Siddiqui

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The American Muslim Voice (AMV) Foundation has established a tradition in the City of Sacramento, California in helping the less fortunate or homeless in our community at the local Loaves & Fishes shelter. Their goal has been to provide a nice warm meal to approximately 1,000 people here on Christmas Eve, and that has continued into its sixth year now. It needs to be noted that AMV has now added days close to the Muslim Eid and the all-American Thanksgiving to their effort at Loaves & Fishes, but Christmas Eve remains the original mother ship which launched it all.

America is undoubtedly the most powerful country in the world but even a Super Power has its poor, homeless and struggling citizens who seem to gravitate to the cities in search of support and in some cases themselves. Although their numbers may comparatively be small, they remain visible in the otherwise rich and expensive cities in Northern California like San Francisco and Sacramento, the Capital City of our Golden State. And if one is honest, it would not be off the mark to mention that in this country many of us ourselves could be just a few months away from being homeless ourselves if we become unemployed. The social and economic safety net against homelessness that exists in many countries of Europe is not available here in the United States. And a surprising part of it all is that many of the homeless also happen to be veterans of the US Armed forces.

The Sacramento Loaves & Fishes homeless shelter’s Mission Statement is: “In an environment of welcome, hospitality, safety, and cleanliness we seek to provide an oasis for homeless men, women, and children seeking survival services.” Publicly funded, it is located at 1351 North C Street and it often caters to the needs of a nearby community which lives in tents. On a cold, rainy winter’s day, the residents of these tents could surely use a warm and nourishing meal. And that is where some followers of the Islamic faith have stepped forward. Local Iranian American businessman Mo Mohanna introduced us to this worthy cause right here in our own backyard many years ago.

Islam has a strong sense of community with charity and taking care of the less fortunate built into it. American Muslim Voice Foundation has incorporated the true teachings of our faith and along with other groups has decided to practice what their faith teaches them. And what a great way of showing their dedication to serving the community around them by serving meals on Christmas Eve to their brothers and sisters of the Christian and any other faith!

As an outsider walking into the Loaves & Fishes Dining Hall, it was a pleasure to see Muslim-American youth volunteers engaging the people with a tray and a smile as they walked in, starting off with offering them oranges and doughnuts and a complete baked chicken meal with corn, salad, bread, rice and gravy. One wonders what the hundreds of people who came in for lunch may have thought about being served by a nice warm meal Christmas Eve meal by Muslim youth, some of them in Hijabs? And the event did not end with food alone. Each visitor who ate a meal was offered a colorful Christmas “Goodie Bag” upon exit which contained a jacket, socks and other winter clothing items.

In closing AMV and its Sacramento Chapter need to be commended for putting the local American Muslim community in the spotlight in a great way. Providing some assistance to our neighbors of all faiths who may temporarily need a hand during the holiday season is one of the best ways that the religion of Islam can be practiced. Some of the core beliefs of the Islamic faith were shared here and it was wonderful to see our next generation fully participating.

(Happy New Year greetings to all of our readers)

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Posted on Dec 30, 18 | 9:31 am