By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The Council of Woodland City (CA) has recognized the Islamic month of Ramadan which is a month of spiritual consciousness and higher sense of social responsibility for the less fortunate.
The City Council issued a proclamation on June 20, 2017 saying 1.7 billion Muslims of the world celebrate their holiest month of Ramadan every year. "During this month, Muslim observe fast and abstention from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate relations from dawn to dusk."
Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam including Announcement of Faith, 5 daily prayers, Charity for the poor Fasting during the month of Ramadan, and Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca, the proclamation said.
The proclamation was issued in the wake of what has been a nationwide anti-Muslim attitude on the part of some Americans as well as President Donald Trump, Jim Smith Editor of the Woodland Daily Democrat said adding: "Trump has called for stronger vetting of Muslim immigrants as well as a moratorium on new immigrants from Muslim nations, an action that is being fought in court by states like California and others."
While issuing the Ramadan Proclamation, Woodland Mayor Angel Barajas recognized the “large contingency of Muslims in Woodland” and commended the “greater partnership” people have with one another.
“Every member of our community is a Woodlander and every member of our community we embrace whether there’s differences in culture,” he said. “Those differences make us great and so being able to declare this month as Ramadan Month means so much as a council because we embrace being able to include everybody.”
He said Muslims “strengthen every aspect of our community” whether it’s in economic development, health care or the homeless issue. “Being able to look at different perspectives through different lenses,” makes the community more inclusive, he added.
After unanimous approval of the Ramadan Proclamation 2017 Mayor Barajas presented it to the Muslim Community via Khalid Saeed of the Woodland Mosque.
Khalid Saeed thanked the Woodland City Council for thoughtful approval and said:
"This proclamation is so important because it tells hatemongers and Islamophobes that Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of American society, and in Woodland we will not accept efforts of some of 'otherization' of segments of society.
"We the Muslims are peace loving citizens of united states , positively contributing to the couumity and the country. We are being victimized on guilt by association for no fault of our own."
Woodland city’s newest Parks and Recreation Commission member, Rashid Ali, said the proclamation is “a great way to make members of the community feel inclusive and members of the (Muslim) community” feel more accepted. Ali said he is a lifelong resident of Woodland and a first-generation American, adding “events such as these only bring us together and make others in our community feel as if they are being represented.”
Interestingly on June 6, 2017, Mecklenburg County of North Carolina also approved a resolution recognizing the Month of Ramadan." It asserted that Islam is a part of America’s history and that Muslims should be recognized for their contributions. “Ramadan reminds us that Islam has always been a part of America and Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country, including those made by the famous Muslim scholar Omar Ibn Said, who was enslaved and brought to the Carolinas in 1807,” the resolution states.
It may be recalled that in October 2007, the House of Representative adopted a resolution recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and expressing the "deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world." It was adopted in the House by a vote of 376-0.
The House resolution reiterated support for American Muslims in the face of hate crimes, and maintained
a strong stand against intolerance. The resolution rejected hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims, both in the United States and worldwide.
Woodland Mosque hosts Interfaith Iftar
The Woodland City proclamation of Ramadan came three days after an Interfaith Iftar dinner hosted by the Woodland Mosque. The traditional Iftar was, among others, was attended by Woodland City Mayor Angel Barajas and other city officials including: Police Chief Luis Solar, Fire Department Chief Rebecca Ramirez, City Manager Paul Navazio, and County Assessor/Tax Collector Jesse Salinas.
Another feature of the Interfaith Iftar was presence of clergy from various churches and denominations such as: Rev. Terri Hobart (Rector St. Luke's Episcopical Church of Woodland) and Rev. Elizabeth Brick (Methodist Church of Woodland).
Others attending included: Dr. Michael White, President of the Woodland Community College and David Vidmar from Peace Catalyst International.
Samina Sundas, the founding Executive Director of American Muslim Voice and Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Communications Director of the AMV traveled from San Francisco Bay Area to attend the event.
It may be pointed out the Khalid Saeed is the national president of American Muslim Voice.
The program began with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Imam Sharif Sialvi with translation by Khalid Saeed. A young girl, Ayesha Sadiq, spoke about a Muslim youth's day of fasting. Rev. Terri Hobart offered interfaith prayer. Del Zeiger offered prayer before the meal. Haroon Bashir called (Azan) for maghrib prayer.
Mayor Angel Barajas recognized Khalid Saeed for his contribution in promoting a community of peace and respect for all. The Mayoral proclamation said: "Mr. Saeed has been honored for his contributions to peace and justice by the State of California, the Yolo County District Attorney's office as well as other law enforcement agencies."
The Mayoral proclamation pointed out that in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Mr. Saeed joined the American Muslim Foundation as its national president and dared to envision a culture of peace, acceptance, mutual respect and harmony.
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