The Dawoodi Bohras of Bakersfield were honored to host an informal, socially distanced visit by the City of Bakersfield Councilmembers Chris Parlier, Patty Gray, and Andrae Gonzales at the local masjid on Akers Road. Due to the California State COVID-19 guidelines, attendance of Dawoodi Bohra community members was limited for everyone’s safety. Nevertheless, the Councilmembers’ visit was a delightful occasion for the community to open the masjid after a long hiatus due to the recent COVID restrictions.
The program began by seating the esteemed guests in the courtyard of the masjid, which is the area of the masjid complex used for special occasions such as weddings, etc. A short speech was delivered by the Public Relations lead, giving the Councilmembers an overview of the history of the Dawoodi Bohras, including background about the Bohra faith, as well as highlights on the architectural components of the masjid inspired by elements of structures built by the Fatemid empire in Cairo. We also described how our spiritual leader, Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has taught us to be contributing and law-abiding members of the communities we live in.
We also noted some of the recent contributions the Dawoodi Bohra community made to the greater Bakersfield area residents during the tough pandemic year. We made handmade face masks for ‘Mask Relief,’ an organization that donated masks to healthcare workers in Kern County and other areas of California. We also talked about the food drives the community hosted in collaboration with ‘The Mission at Kern,’ feeding more than 2000 homeless in Bakersfield. Lastly, we highlighted the recent blood drive that was hosted in partnership with the Houchin Community Blood Bank (HCBB) this past February. Councilmember Andrae Gonzales was excited to hear of our efforts and suggested other avenues his organization could use our support in, such as hosting clothing drives for the homeless, and food distribution drives for the poor. We were delighted and eager to participate in the Councilmembers’ efforts in serving those less fortunate within the Bakersfield community.
The visit ended with a tour of the masjid, with a visual demonstration of how we eat together in groups of eight in communal fashion in a ‘thaal.’ Councilmembers commented on how beautiful the masjid was, especially the stunning chandelier that adorns the masjid’s ceiling. They were interested to learn about our community, and thanked us for inviting them. We hope to host them again in the near future and share our support for the great city of Bakersfield.