by Ronnie Estoque
The Cham Refugees Community (CRC), a local nonprofit organization that provides educational, social, and cultural services to Cham and other ethnic minorities in South Seattle, is in the proposal process of upgrading their building space into a 12,000-square-foot community center and religious space. Throughout the years, the CRC has been able to acquire property at 5945 39th Avenue South, as well as four other residential properties adjacent to their address. The proposal has been in the works for years through grassroot efforts by local Cham community members pitching in for the property purchases.
“The elderly and the families continue to still donate despite struggling because it was very important to have a space to meet,” Sarya Sos, CRC’s program manager, said. “We don’t do interest in our community because we follow kind of the Muslim kind of teachings … and so borrowing money with interest is out of the picture.”
Members of the Cham community who had extra cash set aside pooled together money to purchase the five properties over a span of 40 years, with the CRC eventually repaying, with no interest, those who sought repayment; others saw it as an opportunity solely to donate to building a space for gathering. As they have grown, the CRC has identified the need to expand their community space to increase their services and programming, which largely focus on youth and the elderly.
Continue reading Cham Refugees Community Awaits Approval to Build New Gathering Space
by Ashley Archibald
The first time Brianna Auffray’s client went to the police about a potential arson, they took down a report, but they did not classify it as a hate crime — despite a derogatory note left near the damage. The second time a fire was set at the same family’s home, law enforcement acknowledged that there appeared to be a pattern of arson but still didn’t change the classification. The message from the police was “who’s to know what their motives were?” said Auffray, who is the legal and policy manager for the Council on American Islamic Relations Washington (CAIR-WA).
Continue reading Advocates Push for Systemic Change in Face of Rising Hate Crimes in Seattle
by Ronnie Estoque
Cham Refugees Community (CRC) gathered for its annual Night Market and Soccer Tournament this past Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24. The Night Market was held on the CRC’s property on 39th Avenue South, which is currently in the process of securing necessary funds to begin development of a new community center space. Local businesses, such as Champa Brand and Rayyan’s Kuih, were amongst the many vendors during the event that sold clothing and food. King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay made an appearance at the event on Saturday.
The Soccer Tournament was played on the turf of Brighton Playfield, which opened in June of 2020. The games drew large crowds of fans rooting for various local teams, such as Cham South West and Cham Tacoma. The playing conditions were perfect on Saturday with wind and rain being absent from the field. The sun shone brightly as cheers from fans filled up the area.
Those interested in donating towards the development of a new CRC community center can contact Cham Community Center project coordinator Slayman Appadolo via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The CRC is also accepting donations via PayPal (CCC@crcseattle.org).
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Cham Community Gathers for Annual Night Market and Soccer Tournament
by Kamna Shastri
When the Islamic School of Seattle closed in 2012, the children and parents who were part of the local Muslim institution’s community did not want to lose the spirit of the school. Wasat emerged from this gap, fulfilling a need for former Islamic School of Seattle parents and students to stay connected around shared values and exploration of the Islamic faith. What started with informal meals and community Iftar dinners during the month of Ramadan eventually became a robust and cross-cultural space called Wasat.
In Arabic, “Wasat” means “middle-way.” According to Executive Director Baraka Blue, it is the principle that guides a just and balanced community. Wasat is a community of —but not limited to — the Muslim faith and is dedicated to being a space where members can bring their whole selves and engage with the Islamic faith across the many different cultures that Wasat members come from.
Continue reading At Wasat, Muslim American Community Can Be Together — Beautifully
by Amina Ibrahim
For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of deep reflection, devotion, and worship. It is also a time where friends and family gather to eat, pray, and be together in community. The pandemic changed Ramadan for Muslims around the world in 2020. Many of us did not expect that one year later, Ramadan 2021 would be welcomed in circumstances that look very similar to the previous year.
Yet despite all the challenges of the past year, there is hope. As more Americans get vaccinated, families are able to open their homes up to loved ones again. Friends have started to host socially distant outdoor iftar, the nightly meal when families break their fast, gatherings. Being fully vaccinated has allowed for indoor gatherings to safely occur. A refreshing escape from last year’s isolated iftars.
Continue reading Ramadan 2021: Reflections On A Year of Sacrifice, Loss, and Hope
by Sabreen Akhter
Like many children of immigrants, it was rare that I would see my mother cry. She was made of that same earthen ore that so many recent immigrants are — setting out a path for herself, and then putting her head down and throwing every ounce into the effort of her new life in America. In the 1980s, when she was still early in her career, with two young children under her care, and a husband with an equally punishing schedule, there was little time to travel to see family, and even less opportunity to connect in the ways that we can today. Long distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive, long distance flights even more so, and the intervals between seeing loved ones stretched over many years.
Continue reading Turning In to Turn Up During Ramadan
by Mark Van Streefkerk
The Cherry Street Mosque (CSM) building has been a hub of progressive, interfaith community in the Central District for decades. In-person services and events stopped last year due to the pandemic, but several faith-based and arts communities launched a fundraiser last fall to make necessary repairs to the 90-year-old building. Members of the newly formed Cherry Street Village have a vision to turn the building into an interfaith and arts space that will truly be one of a kind in Seattle — but first, the roof has to be fixed.
Continue reading Help Save the Historic Cherry Street Mosque Building, a Hub for Interfaith and Arts Community
by Nura Ahmed
I remember in my first grade class, two years after 9/11, only moments before the U.S. declared war on Iraq, feeling this uncomfortable glare and attention from my teacher as she looked at me when she called my name for roll call. This only continued on throughout the school year when everyone found out I had a Muslim family. Being one of the few Muslim families in my area during the post-9/11 era, with the language used around being an immigrant, Black, and Muslim impacting the discourse in my community and in America at large, it was increasingly difficult feeling like I truly mattered or that I deserved to be there.
Granted, my family had come from Somalia only a few months before, and I felt this discomfort every year before moving to a place where I went to a diverse school and community in fifth grade. Even if it wasn’t any better afterwards. All I know is throughout the whole time, I felt isolated, alone, and afraid. Afraid of what these people would do to me. And I always questioned why they constantly hated me when I didn’t do anything.
Continue reading OPINON: The Terrifying Reality Behind the Black Muslim Experience in Amerikkka
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Over a week after Dolal Idd was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, roughly 150 people gathered in front of the Tukwila Library on Sunday, Jan. 10, to honor the Somali American man’s life and to call for systemic change.
Many speakers mourned the loss of another Black life and spoke to the need for nationwide action on policing. Shukri Olow, a candidate for King County Council District 5, which encompasses some of South Seattle, spoke as a member of the Somali-Muslim community and as a mother herself.
“When I heard about what happened to Dolal, I couldn’t help but feel the pain of his mother, who ran away from the civil war to find a safe environment for her children,” Olow said. “I want you to think about fleeing a conflict … coming to safe shores only to have your child killed by a system that you do not understand, a system that does not see our humanity.”
Continue reading Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change