San Ramon hosts its first Muslim Day

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San Ramon hosts its first Muslim Day

Members of San Ramon's close community gather at the city's inaugural Muslim Day event.

Members of San Ramon's close community gather at the city's inaugural Muslim Day event.

Shereen Ahmed

Members of San Ramon's close community gather at the city's inaugural Muslim Day event.

Shereen Ahmed

Shereen Ahmed

Members of San Ramon's close community gather at the city's inaugural Muslim Day event.

Daniela Wise and Shereen Ahmed

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Sabina Zafar hosted the first Muslim Day event at City Hall on Aug. 27 to celebrate Muslim culture in San Ramon and follow up on the establishment of August as Muslim Appreciation Month. 

City Councilwoman Sabina Zafar invited people in the community to gather and share ideas; over 90 people attended the event. “I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see people come out and accept this. It was a great opportunity to bring people to City Hall,” Zafar said. “This is something that is going to make a huge difference in our community, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you guys so much,” Zyed Patal, a junior at Monte Vista High School stated.  

The goal of the event was to not only celebrate the Muslim faith, but to include all religious groups. San Ramon joined a multitude of cities from San Jose to Dublin in announcing August as Muslin Appreciation month.

Additionally, many activities are planned for August as a part of Muslim Appreciation Month. Zafar emphasized that people “can put lights up in city hall, most likely green, along with the digital boards, which will say Muslim Appreciation Month so people can walk by and see it.” 

Although this event is important to the San Ramon community, it is especially monumental for Muslims and how they are treated. According to WEAC.org, over 53% of Muslim children in California are bullied due to their religion and Muslim children are twice as likely to be bullied as children of any other religious denomination. 

“One person called me during my campaign [for city council] and asked me if I was Hindu, Christian or Muslim. And I said, ‘Sir, when you need that pothole fixed, it’s not going to ask your religion.’” Zafar explained.

Overall, the event was well-received, spreading positivity and cultural awareness, but not without opposition. During public comment, former San Ramon Mayor Greg Carr shared his opinion on the event.

“I’m going to ask the five of you to declare the month of September as Faith Awareness month, in the city of San Ramon, to acknowledge people of all faiths, including people of Islam and all things, even atheists,” Carr announced. Members of the audience did not respond.

Despite such opposition, Zafar emphasized the value of unity. “There is always an opportunity to recognize all the different faiths at different times throughout the year. If we package all the faiths in one month, then it does not really call out any faith.” 

With a population of 74,366 in San Ramon, many races, faiths and ethnicities were present, creating a diverse cultural unity. Learning about other cultures helps people understand the different perspectives and disperse negative stigmas and personal stereotypes. 

“This is a forum for people to find out about Muslims and what they do and for them to present their point of view and what they are experiencing in their community. We live in such a diverse community. Somebody I was talking to had said that there were high schools that speak 35 languages, so essentially we are the entire United Nations.”

Muslim Day was one of the first unity events San Ramon has done since the Pride Flag in an effort to recognize certain faiths, religions and to honor their value in our community.

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