The majority of the Shiites of the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley belong to the following ethnic groups:
"سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ" (الإسراء)
"Glory be to God Who took His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We (God) did bless." (Quran 17:1)
The greatest majority of the Shia of the Bay Area belong to the Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Afghan, Iraqi-Arab, and Lebanese-Arab ethnic groups. While the Iraqis and the Lebanese are Semites, the Indians, the Pakistanis, and the Persians are mainly Aryan.
The Iraqi Shiites of the Bay Area are mainly from Southern Iraq, particularly as-Samawah (السماوة), Karbala (كربلاء المقدسة), and an-Nassiriah (الناصرية). Some of the local Iraqi Shiites are from Baghdad (بغداد), an-Najaf (النجف الأشرف), and ad-Diwaniah (الديوانية).
The Lebanese Shiites are mainly from Jabal Amel (جبل عامل). But there are at least three families from the Baalbek (بعلبك) province as well.
The Bay Area also includes a substantial community of Afro-Lebanese-American Shiites, especially from Sierra Leone, western Africa. The greatest majority of the Bay Area Afro-Lebanese-Americans are originally from Ain Baal (عين بعال), Jabal Amel, Lebanon (لبنان).
The overwhelming majority of the Lebanese-Americans, including the Afro-Lebanese-Americans, attend services at Azakhana-e-Zahra, PBUH, in Milpitas, California. On the other hand, several Canadian-Lebanese Shiites are active at the Shia Association of Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center). The leading American Shia cleric in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hojjat-ol-Islam Syed Mudassir Ali Shah Moosvi, is a founder of both of these Shia organizations.
The Shiites who belong to the other ethnic groups, such as Berber (بربر), Egyptian (مصري), Malay, etc., are mainly converts who were born as Sunnis. Others, such as those who belong to the Amerindian, Hispanic, and White-American ethnic groups are converts who were originally Christians.
There are also at least two Ashkenazi Jews in the Bay Area who have converted to Shia Islam. The Hebrew Shiites are of course Semites, just like the Iraqi-American and Lebanese-American Shiites. This makes the Hebrew, Iraqi, and Lebanese Shiites brothers in both creed and blood for they are all descendants of Shem (سام، عليه السلام), PBUH, the eldest son of Noah (نوح، عليه السلام), PBUH.
Christianity and Judaism are indeed the closest religions to Islam (إسلام), for all three religions are monotheistic creeds of Peace (سلام - שלום) that trace their origins back to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, Peace be upon them all.
For more information about the San Francisco Bay Area Shia community, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Saba Center: Malcolm Shabazz
Saba Center: Ali Mir
Saba Center: Alavi Foundation
Saba Center: Rafic Labboun