Muslims flock to prayer service at Fairgrounds

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


Posted by Tim, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 30, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Although not a Muslim, I'm glad to see this happening here in my hometown. I've heard so much about how Muslim Americans have faced such awful bigotry in so many place around the country since 9/11. People should be free to pray & worship as they see fit.

What makes America a great nation is her rich diversity. I'm proud that my hometown is open & accepting of this diversity. I love Pleasanton!

Posted by Kumbiya, a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 31, 2011 at 7:47 am

Hey Editor...and Tim,
Apparently you haven't been keeping up with events in Europe.
The heads of even the once multicultural-friendly countries like France and England have agreed publicly that MULTICULTURALISM IS A MISERABLE FAILURE...and it is DESTROYING THEIR COUNTRIES.

Words matter. While I have no problem embracing multi-ethnicities...we should only promote ONE CULTURE in this country and that is the AMERICAN CULTURE.

Our country is doomed if we recognize and abide by laws of different cultures!!! Sharia Law in America??? HELL NO!!!

Otherwise, welcome to honor killings, wife beatings, and other 'wonderful' cultural practices here in America.

Multiculturalism is a double-edged sword in case you hadn't noticed.


Posted by One Culture Fits All, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

I always write to my representative telling him to pass legislation that bans any multicultural tendency that contradicts AMERICAN CULTURE. Thus, NO RELIGION PERMITTED EXCEPT CHRISTIAN RELIGION. No one should be allowed upon our shores unless they sign papers denouncing their Hinduist, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, agnostic, athiest, antitheist beliefs. I embrace people who don't look like me. HELL, my wife is a woman for gosh sakes. But I will tolerate NOBODY who doesn't believe what I believe. I'm the real AMERICAN.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Aug 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

Birdland must have caught a dose of that avian flu. You won't survive long under Sharia law. Enjoy your freedom while you still have it.

Posted by Candy, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Aug 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

steeeeeve is right. God is not great. God is a sham. And anyone from any nation who inflicts violence upon others in the name of God is not a very nice person.

Posted by HotSam, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

So if the prayer rooms are segregated, how does the PW get away with posting pictures taken in the women's room? (see pictures above)

Posted by Teacher, a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

It's nice to see how uneducated some people are on this post. Celebrating cultures doesn't mean one thing about loosing an American culture. Simply living here is the American culture, with all of the nasty, hate filled speech some of you have. Multicultural means to celebrate the differences people have, but it seems that people on here want to make other peoples' difference inferior. No one is going to loose their American culture- hot dogs, movies, walking down the street will be here long after we're gone.

As for the Chipolte comment- do your homework next time before spewing off about the Islamic culture and their religion. The people I saw on the news and read about in articles were Caucasian people, vegetarians. I didn't read or hear about a Muslim complaining about bacon in their beans.

"But I will tolerate NOBODY who doesn't believe what I believe. I'm the real AMERICAN." Can we say RED FLAG? I'd so not want to be your neighbor. Those words are pure seeds of hatred.

By the way, I'm not Muslim- a white male in his 30s, raised Catholic.

Posted by M., a resident of Downtown
on Aug 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm

M. is a registered user.

I am so amused at how easily most of the readers here are lured in by troll comments (look it up and learn something). It is as if the readers have just now discovered the internet.

On a serious note, troll threads aside you guys really need to grow up and get over yourselves.


Posted by get real, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Poor Patricia, cannot remember who wrote what.
I never made any comments about beans, that was "wake up". What I do or do not know about the Muslim world is not relevant. The fact is that businesses have held lunch meetings forever. That means _eating_ Patricia, in case you failed to grasp that part. A fasting Muslim has made a choice not to eat. That is not my choice, nor is it the choice or custom of my fellow employees. If the Muslim employee cannot deal with that then she needs to go to work for a Muslim company where everyone is fasting. If an employee chooses to diet does that make it a crime for me to eat dessert with my lunch?

Posted by Tim, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 31, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Well that didn't take long for the bigots to come out of the woodwork. As I stated last evening...I'm still proud of Pleasanton for hosting this event. For those so called Christian Americans spewing hatred against ALL Muslims for the actions of a few, I say I really feel sorry for you. However, I won't be so ignorant as to assume ALL "Christians" or ALL "Americans" are bigots just because of the beliefs of a few.

I will end by quoting from one of my favorite prayers from my church:

May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be whole.

Posted by artlover, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:51 pm

OK I"m confused. It was a LUNCH meeting and they should have not eaten lunch? If the fasting Muslim has a problem with this, then they should have objected to HR to even having a meeting at lunchtime. If they did not attempt to change this, then they have no right to demand that others forego eating lunch.

Now, having said that: Lunch meetings are NOT GOOD. Everyone should take a break at lunch time. We Americans are killing ourselves with stress.

Posted by Pork Lunches as Americana, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Sep 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

What the heck? Locker rooms have always been there as a favored site for racist and sexist jokes. If minorities and women-lovers feel offended, they should stay away.

A locker room without racist and sexist jokes? What is that? People should develop a sense of humor about these things. I've always gotten a big kick out of racist jokes.

If this Muslim women doesn't like pork sandwiches and their aroma, maybe she should don a gas mask at the meetings. To expect ME to change MY eating habits or joke-telling habits for the benefit of someone else? Don't bother. Gas mask ... or quit her religion ... or go back to camelland where she'd probably be more happy. This is MY workplace, not hers.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Ridiculing someone because their culture's customs dictate they fast during a particular religious holiday or ridiculing someone because their culture's customs dictate they take a lunch break. You decide.

Posted by Faster, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Sep 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Stacey, are you suggesting that both forms of ridicule are the same? Are you intending to say there is no difference between fasting on Ramadan and eating lunch during lunch break in USA? Are you saying that they are both 'cultural dictates'? Please do tell me this is your attempt to be humorous. Please.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


Most people find the act of ridicule, whether it be a racist joke or online trolling, morally reprehensible, don't you?

Posted by Faster, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Sep 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

No, Stace. I find there to be a huge difference between ridiculing a belief system or someone's practice of it, and putting forward ridiculously bad and inappropriate analogies.

So, Ramadan vs. the American "culture of lunchbreak" right? They are analogous? Better go back to doing what you do best, Stace, which is finding esoteria on the web. Your reasoning is another matter. Comparing Ramadan to "lunchbreak" is doing two things, actually. It underscores the impoverished nature of American culture -- eat, eat, eat! And it exposes your inability to think outside of yourself in a way that leads to an appreciation of other.

As to the latter, we're back again to your inability to think beyond the restrictive cognitive zone of your own selfish interests. Well, no surprise there. At least you're being consistent. You see, there really isn't much difference between you and steeeeve. Steeeeve wears his on his sleeve; you have to be invited into an exchange or two before yours clearly shows itself. And of course you're not so thick as to not know what I'm talking about here.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Your attempt to divert away from my discussion of the act of ridicule is no surprise. Only those who gain personally from using ridicule would attempt to rationalize use of it.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 3, 2011 at 12:05 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Why would you ridicule esoteria? You're quite adept yourself at pulling the flavor du jour philosopher out of your back pocket.

Posted by Bettina, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

Stacey wants us to consider the following:

that fasting during Ramadan is equivalent to lunch break! in American culture;

she is serious about this;

she does not think it appropriate to ridicule her thinking on this matter.

The real question is how anyone could consider her claim withOUT recognizing how ridiculous it is.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Bettina wants everyone to consider that fasting during Ramadan is equivalent to a lunch break. That's her bubble. I have consistently asked for consideration of the act of ridicule, which no one would find ridiculous.

Posted by Bettina, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Since it's always only about face-saving for Stacey, she'll even attempt to attribute to me clearly was hers.

Keep on celebrating Lunch Break! as part of the great American culture that is under attack by Ramadan. Stacey says so!

Posted by Blossom, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Sep 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm

My vote goes to Stacey. For years and years America has long celebrated the halloed tradition of lunch break. This is one of America's most sacred traditions, and shouldn't be taken litely.

No burka wearing damsel should be able to think she has the right to do her Ramadamaringrang fast and expect America's to forfiet they're most revered daily activity.

We need to preserve American culture. If burka wearers don't like the smell of pork in the lunch room, well that's too bad. Pork is all about America. Pork is pigs. Pork is clean. The Jews have conceeded ground on ths matter, so should the Arabs.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Sep 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Boy, the "B" trolls are on a roll today. It was a nice day outside today. Too bad you missed it, while you b's trolled. I am so sad for you and you are so sad.

Posted by Barb, a resident of Happy Valley
on Sep 4, 2011 at 4:29 am

Yeo Steve,
Nobody wss asking for you, no one cared you weren't around. Except for me perhaps, who always gets a belly laugh or two from reading your idiotic, hate-filled rants.

3-day week-end meant more time out on the grounds, eh?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I asked everyone to decide between two reasons to ridicule someone as a way to highlight the act of ridicule itself. Most people would chose not to ridicule someone at all, finding the act distasteful. I never drew an equivalence between the two reasons.

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