Monday, December 15, 2008

Luncheon for homeless hosted by area muslims enjoyed by all

A delicious afternoon meal, put on by Sacramento-area Muslims for the homeless community, yesterday, was much enjoyed and appreciated. The event was held in the Capitol Plaza Grand Ballroom on J Street, downtown.

Food served included very tender beef shish, white rice, a flavorful green-bean salad, lettuce salad, a pasta noodle and vegetable salad, pita bread and fruit. A variety of soft drinks and coffee were among the drinks offered. The Grand, as the room is called, just across the street from the Sheraton Grand Hotel, had many large round tables where hungry homeless guests sat and feasted.

The muslim people who hosted and served people, in buffet fashion, were all very kind, smiling and generous. The event is part of a tradition associated with the end of Hajj, the Islam pilgrimage to Mecca. Following Hajj, the pilgrims then shave their heads, and muslim people worldwide celebrate the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, or the "Festival of Sacrifice," held in honor of Abraham whose faith was so powerful that he would have been willing to sacrafice his son for God.

By tradition, meat is shared in thirds with one's family, given as gifts, and with the less fortunate.

I and my friend, Douglas, greatly enjoyed the meal we ate and a brief conversation with Giumaa Shawesh, a muslim man involved with the event. He told us that the tradition of charitably sharing meat came fully from an attitude of compassion that muslim people feel. While he was pleased that the event might, in its small way, work against prejudice many have against the muslim religion, the luncheon was fully and only, really, an exhibit of muslims' lovingkindness.

All of my homeless bretheran that I talked to at the event and afterward expressed pleasure with the food that was served and with the kindness of the muslim people we met.

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