Year after year, Zainab Munjy, 22, makes the drive from her Fresno home to
join hundreds of Muslim families at Camp Green Meadows in Fish Camp.
About 250 people are expected to attend this year's 15th annual Youth and
Adult Islamic Camp, hosted by the Muslim Society of Central California near
the entrance to Yosemite National Park. The retreat, which began Thursday
and ends Monday, attracts people of all races and nationalities who share
the Islamic faith.
A few things have changed at the retreat since the 9/11 terrorist attacks
and the war in Iraq, organizers said. There have been a few discussions on
how Muslims could interact with and educate others about their faith.
And one of their new goals: Refute the misconception they say is portrayed
by the media that Muslims are terrorists.
"Honestly, the majority of Muslims are very peaceful people," MSCC
President Hamid Akbar said. "They work hard."
There are about 20,000 Muslims in the San Joaquin Valley.
"One of the unique things about this camp is the dialogue between different
nationalities," said Aslam Abdullah, editor-in-chief of two Muslim
publications. "We reflect the American pluralism."
Muslims come from New York, Montana and Florida to the tranquil campground
neighboring one of America's most notable parks. Many of these American
citizens came from countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India
and Lebanon. There are about 75 similar Muslim camps across the country..