The Islamic Community in Carmichael
Our speaker, Basim Elkarra, was introduced by Program's Chair Mark Urban who said the he saved one of the best programs for last, since he will have filled his quarterly quota obtaining speakers with this meeting (Great Job!). Mark said that there is a growing Islamic community in Carmichael and we are happy to have Basim, who is Executive Director of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR) for the Sacramento Valley with us today. Basim is a native Californian, born in San Francisco, and went to a number of Catholic Christian schools where he was taught discipline by Irish nuns. He and his family went back to Egypt for a time to learn about Islam and he came back graduating from a private Christian High School. He then went on to graduate from U.C.B. and has been in Sacramento since 2004. Basim has been elected to and spend much time on many local and state boards - too many to mention here. Basim explained that CAIR is an organization that advocates for civil rights, and has an educational outreach about Islam, can be reached by anyone (not just Muslims) and has been around in Sacramento Valley since 2002.
Basim told us a little about the early history of Islam in the U.S.(above left). He said that a good book to read about early history is "Gods Shadow" about Sultan Selim and the Ottoman Empire and the making of the Modern World by Alan Mikhail. Slide (above right) is the racial mix of Muslims in the U.S.
Above (left) showing the yearly trip to Mecca with millions of pilgrims, Basin said they are all dressed alike, rich and poor, in white dress because in the eyes of God, all are equal. Slide right shows the distribution of Muslims around the world, with the largest group by far in the Asia-Pacific area.
Above is Mosque at 4545 College Oak Drive in Sacramento, to the right is the Salam Community Center. Basin said that the Mosque and Center are open to anyone and have many activities and welcoming tours.
Above (left) shows the beautiful ornate designs and Calligraphy in their Mosques. On right there is some good news that a survey shows that people are warming up a little toward Muslims. Islamophobia is a problem that needs to be dealt with for the good of all people.
In Q and A: There were questions about the differences of Muslim countries around the world and many violent acts and tyrannical use of force against various peoples - like the Uyghurs in China. Basim acknowledges that there are many problems, but he believes in the long run, things will get better. We all hope so. You can reach Basim at . President David did his good deed for the day by letting Basim know that a book, in honor of his presentation, will be donated to the Carmichael Library (subsidiary of the Sacramento Public Library)