Local Muslims Feed the Poor for Ramadan, as the Trump-Right Launches National Anti-Islamic Assault.


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So, Saturday morning, in the middle of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, our local friendly Muslims of the Jafaria community center gave out boxes and boxes of great healthy food to the local needy – as Muslims do during every Ramadan.  Given that this community center  is literally a stone’s throw from Anna Drive (and given that Yesenia Rojas is such a go-getter) most of it went to us.  

I was there with Donna and other friends to help, because Yesenia called that morning and asked us, and we worked up quite a sweat over a couple hours of helping carry big boxes and bags of food to the cars and homes of the older neighbors.  This was not something I was planning to write about, except … well, eventually I had four reasons…

First of all, Yesenia (with some exaggeration) boasted to the community center President Abid Mirza (holding the oranges in the first picture) that I am a “very important journalist.”  And immediately Abid gasped, “Really?  Oh, please write something about us.”  And then on Monday it struck me – when the multinational hoteliers The Wincome Group gave furniture away to the same neighborhood last month, they had reporters and photographers there, and quickly put out a press release that went directly to Cunningham’s blog.  And I had to consider the fact that Wincome had all that, while Jafaria had nobody but me!  Obviously these Shiites are much closer to the spirit of Matthew 6:3 which I always scold Dan C about.

Oranges!  Apples!  Cooking oil!  English tea!  Then I get home and discover that the Trump-Right (my preferred term) has chosen Ramadan as a great time to organize nationwide rallies “against Shari’a Law” – really against Muslims.  Shari’a Law – I thought I’d heard the last of that obsession, but it’s back – Trump’s xenophobia, his Muslim ban and his wall – have brought all those social pathologies and bogeymen back.  And that is not the capper – my youngest son Gabriel went to one of those rallies in Oceanside to speak reason to these Islamophobes, and ended up first getting attacked by the protesters, then beaten and dragged off by Oceanside police (why do cops always seem to side with the Trumpsters?) and then charged with “resisting arrest,” and now looking for a good lawyer.  But that’ll be its own story – we’ll get back to being positive here.

Hey there I am finally, behind Nithia.  So much cheese, walnuts, dates, lentils, rice, and pasta!  The Muslims of Jafaria, mostly hailing from India and Pakistan, are Shiite;  while the Muslims with the fancy mosques are Sunnis – here in America they all get along just fine, just as they don’t want to force their religion (or Shari’a Law) on any of us.  I asked Abid if his parishioners had been experiencing any hostility from non-Muslims, and he said, no, really, not at all… “Well, when we first got here a little but not after that.”  Hopefully the spirit of Trump never takes root in the City of Kindness.

Businessman Firaz Merchant, the elderly gentleman standing in the back in the first picture and who arranged this event, asked me to print this from a handout he gave me:

Ramadan Blessing

We are very happy to report that with the help of Almighty God and the participation of our great volunteers and their families, we serve thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims during the Holy month of Ramadan.

We Muslims, Sunnis and Shias alike, seek genuine dialogue with the broader Islamic Communities, a dialogue built on mutual respect.  We are inspired to work together, not because of our personal interests, but because of our shared belief in God, His Messenger, and the Holy Quran.

As Muslims, we should work together for Human Rights and Religious Freedom.  We should raise our voices quickly and boldly against Racism, Terrorism, Bigotry, Poverty, and Homelessness all the time.

The month of Ramadan is the month of fasting, kindness, and forgiveness.  As your Muslim neighbors, we continue to strive to make our world a better place.

Imagine a world in which the people of all faiths live in peace and serenity.

As the Grand Imam Ali said:  “The worth of all humans is in the good deeds they perform.”

Hold fast all of you to the cord of God and be not divided; and remember the blessing of God upon you… (Quran 3:103.)

Inside the Jafaria Community Center. Take off your shoes though!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.