Sunday, August 5, 2012

Muslim Community Association (Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, CA)

Santa Clara has long been home to an organization which had aspirations to expand their operations in the city.  They formulated a plan and presented it to the city council.  Despite a small but vocal opposition, they were successful in their cause and began building a behemoth-sized facility.

I'm speaking, of course, of the San Francisco 49ers, whose billionaire owners have put Santa Clara taxpayers on the hook for paying off an $850 million dollar loan and have taken $30 million from the County, $30 million which could have been used to educate our children but hey, football 8 days a year is more important.  In exchange, the San Francisco 49ers will be changing their name to the Santa Clara 49ers.  Wait, they won't?  The San Francisco 49ers of Santa Clara, then.  No?  Wow, the taxpayers are getting a raw deal, aren't they?

I bring this up because the main issue surrounding the stadium was the financing (along with the noise, traffic and shootings which come with NFL games).  Mosques, especially large ones like MCA, face similar quandaries when it comes raising money for their programs and facilities.  MCA, being a Muslim-focused organization, isn't eligible to apply to the vast majority of foundations in the United States for funding.  They can't apply for funding from abroad in a post-9/11 world because who knows what kind of terror connections the government will find.  They're then forced to rely on individual fundraising to meet their goals, which has been tough since the Great Recession hit.

The Silicon Valley boomtimes, however, are back, somewhat.  The MCA is seeking $1 million dollars to purchase a facility to expand its Islamic school and build a youth and senior center.  It's a noble cause and it's something the community sorely needs.  I say the boomtimes are back (somewhat) because they began the fund-a-need at $100,000 and it took someone all of 10 seconds to commit it.  My jaw dropped; I've been fundraising in Richmond for too long, clearly.  There were comparatively very few mid-range donations ($10,000-$50,000) but they still ended up with $300,000 in pledges.

The bid of the night, however, came from one Waxmaster Will.  Verily, he exalted the Almighty, led by example and gave unto the cause from his own wealth.  And it was good.

Due to the fundraising, taraweeh started rather late.  The ball didn't get rolling till around 11, but it was sublime as per usual.  I've been around the Bay more than a few times at this point and I still maintain that this is the best taraweeh here.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not denigrating the teenage huffaz who sprout from the local Quran schools.  There's just something about the timber and deepness of Sheikh Jibreel's voice that the youngsters can't match because their voices haven't completely dropped yet.

One wonders if they're using Muslim labor to put the finishing touches on the expansion. It's good to give Muslims business, but doing construction work during Ramadan in the summertime must be extremely hard.

Date Visited: August 4, 2012

3003 Scott Boulevard
Santa Clara, 95054

Tag-team taraweeh: Nope.

Qirat: Lovely.

Size of congregation: In the hundreds

Capacity of center: In the thousands

Parking: The masjid has a good-sized parking lot, but there's also plenty of street parking.  Lousy Muslims also park illegally in the neighbors' parking lots.

Mihrab: Yes

Minbar: Yes

Shoe shelves: Not enough if the center is at capacity.

Building: Old Hewlitt-Packard R&D facility.  The masjid has its eye on a facility next door to expand the school and build a new senior and youth center.

Friendliness towards women: Women dominate the volunteer corps here.  There hasn't been a female president here yet, but I'm sure there will be in the next 10 years.

Friendliness of congregation: It's really rather quite large, so it can be a little intimidating.  In this sea of strangers, though, you'll find plenty of friendly faces.

For more on MCA, read my previous years' posts.

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