Muslim community marks end of Ramadan while mourning tragic deaths of Marines

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - Friday is Eid, a day of celebration for Muslims marking the end of Ramadan.

While the South Bay Muslim community tries to celebrate one of their holiest days of the year, they're also mourning the tragic deaths in Tennessee.

That was true at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds where the South Bay Islamic Association holds their annual event.

Organizers say it went well. Still, there was a sense of grief, on a day that should have been filled with joy.

"It's a little subdued today and it's on everyone's minds," says Arif Khan, one of the SBIA board members.

On their minds, the killing of four Marines, by Mohammod Abdulazeez in Chattanooga.

As word of the tragedy spread, the phones at the Council on American-Islamic Relations began to ring, with concern about backlash against the community.

"People want to celebrate but at the same time it comes with a mixture of sadness for the victims and fear for the community as well," says Sameena Usman, CAIR's government relations coordinator.

And so the SBIA added extra security to their event. They also began with a prayer for the Marines and their families.

"We really hope we can stand shoulder to shoulder with other communities, other faiths and really condemn this kind of senseless violence," says Asif Ansari, with SBIA.

Another board member, Athar Siddiqee says he even spoke to his teenaged children about what happened.

"They need to be aware, that while we are celebrating, there are people who can't celebrate, and in fact are mourning," Siddiqee says.

Many at the event said they are grieving and heartbroken too.

"Especially at a time that's so special and spiritual and meaningful to us, for this to happen was really heartbreaking," says Kiran Palla.

The SBIA has been holding this event at the fairgrounds for more than two decades. Thousands of people attend each year.