May 30, 2020

Students and faculty celebrate Islamic holiday

Fresno State students and faculty are taking some time away from school and work to celebrate the Islamic holiday Eid Al-Adha this week.

Fresno State’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) held a banquet on Sunday in honor of the holiday.

“Muslims have the two Eids as holidays and weekly Friday jum’ah prayer,” said Amanee Robinson, president of the Muslim Student Association. “So I feel it was necessary for MSA to host something in celebration of our holiday.”

Eid Al-Adha was on Tuesday and is the second of two Eid festivals. It marks the end of hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

Eid Al-Adha, sometimes called the “Feast of Sacrifice,” also commemorates the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, under God’s command.

At the banquet in the Satellite Student Union, attendees of all religious backgrounds learned about the significance of the holy day from guest speaker Malek Bendelhoum.  He is the programs and outreach coordinator at Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, which is an umbrella organization of mosques that provide Islamic resources.

“Even though the banquet occurred a couple of days before Eid, it was still special,” Robinson said. “We were able to bring an amazing speaker, Malek, to talk about Eid and the importance of good character. Plus, everyone loves a good lecture and food.”

On Tuesday, the day of Eid, local Muslims gathered at the Fresno Convention Center for prayer.

Three local mosques, Masjid Fresno, Masjid Badr and Masjid Al-Aqabah, hosted the mass event, catering to hundreds of people.

The event began with exclamations of “takbeer,” or the glorification of God, at 8:30 a.m. and then the traditional Eid prayer and sermon at 9 a.m.

Afterward, many members of the community had donuts and coffee at the convention center. In the afternoon, dozens of Muslim youth met at BlackBeard’s Family Entertainment Center for arcade games and miniature golf.

“The Muslim community uses Eid as a reason to come together and feel united,” said Hagar Attia, a Muslim and communications professor at Fresno State. “It makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger.”

Many Muslims take off of school and work for Eid.

At Valley Crescent School, a private, nonprofit Islamic school in Clovis for grades K-8, students and teachers has no school Monday through Thursday.

“I don’t think anyone would want to spend their personal holiday stuck at work or school,” said Nancy Mohamed, Fresno State student and tutor at Valley Crescent. “It’s a time to spend with loved ones. It’s a time to escape from the due dates, papers and grades.”

The Eid events end this weekend with “The Bazaar” at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno at 2111 E. Nees Ave. on Saturday.

Attendees will be able to try camel rides, henna art, international food vendors, an Eastern tea booth and kids’ rides and attractions.

Members of Fresno State’s Persian Studies Cultural Club are volunteering at the event.

President of the club, Layla Karimi-Asl, said “The Bazaar” is a fun and lighthearted way to end the holy week.

“It’ll be a good opportunity for members of the community to come together to have fun and have an extra celebration,” she said.

The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is open to the public with an adult admission of $5.

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