Halal Fajitas Barbeque
By Abu’Maya Gomez
In the Bay Area [San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, etc], the Muslim population is well established with mosques centrally located throughout the area. Yet the Latinos receiving Islam is a very scanty effort, and some converts to Islam are left without any assistance. The Zaytuna outreach coordinator asked the Latinos in his class to start a gathering for Latinos to assist each other with our social, psychological, and new Islamic identities.
In 2003, phone calls and e-mails were sent to encourage Latino Muslims to meet on Saturdays from 3:00 – 5:00pm on the Zaytuna grounds. The meetings were basically a way to help everyone to get to know one other and to bridge our emptiness within the Muslim community. By telling our stories of conversion and its trials, our gatherings became a place of comfort and solace. Through our gatherings, some of us became good friends and still to this day, we hold those friendships very dear.
We decided that teaching Islam was not our aim or goal, because we were already attending classes with qualified teachers to teach our Deen. What we did decide to do was to pick social and religious topics and give a presentation on those topics according to our level of understanding. Masha’Allah, some brothers and sisters took the topics very seriously and spent much time in preparation. At one point, we had a Mexican, a non-Muslim, give a presentation according to his knowledge about who Jesus (PBUH) was in Islam and Christianity. He came well prepared with useful information that we all benefited from.
After several months of meeting, we decided to have a barbeque, our style—minus the Coronas. We planned the event and decided to have fajitas (carne asada), beans, and aroz. The event went extremely well. Zaytuna considered it a great tool for dawah, and they asked us to keep on with the events. We had a total of three barbeques this year. Insha’Allah, in 2005 we will continue our gatherings along with our picnics in order to understand ourselves as Latinos and Muslims.