April 11, 2023

 The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), along with Speaker of the Assembly, Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), hosted its 17th Annual Capitol Ramadan Iftar in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, April 10.  

Ramadan, which began on March 23, is the Islamic holy month of self-discipline, charity, fasting, and spiritual renewal. Muslims end their daily fast after sunset with a meal known as iftar.    

Since 2004, CAIR-CA has worked with members of the California State Legislature to host an annual iftar at the State Capitol to commemorate the holy month and connect on issues impacting California’s Muslims. 

Approximately 150 California lawmakers, leaders, and advocates within the Muslim community attended the event, including Muslim lawmakers Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward) and Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside). Both Essayli and Wahab made history in the November 2022 elections, with Essayli being the first American Muslim to be elected to the California Assembly and Wahab being the first Afghan American to ever be elected to public office in the United States, and the first American Muslim to be elected to the California Senate

In a statement, CAIR-SV/CC Executive Director Basim Elkarra said:  

“Ramadan is a special time when families and communities gather to break bread together and pray together. After a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19, we not only came back together, but we had the opportunity to celebrate the first Muslim legislators in California’s history. We also celebrated the high number of Muslim staffers at the Capitol who make a tremendous impact for all Californians. Every year, legislators present a Ramadan Resolution commemorating this special time and the contributions of Muslims in California for over a century.”

In a statement, CAIR-CA Policy & Government Affairs Manager Nazeehah Khan said:  

“The legislature is what drives into California the values of justice, compassion, and community. Values that we celebrate in Ramadan, and values that are at the core of the policies that CAIR California creates. Whether that’s restoring the dignity of religious minorities in our carceral system with Senator Cortese, fostering inclusivity for state employees with Senator Wahab, or allowing students to celebrate Eid without repercussion with Assemblymember Lee—Ramadan, the legislature, and our bills have a core value in common: a person’s humanity and identity is their right, not a luxury. 

“We thank the lawmakers and community partners who joined us to celebrate that right and to commemorate a month American Muslims hold dear.”