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Local Muslim Volunteers Reach Out to Homeless Community on Christmas Eve

SACRAMENTO -- Christmas Eve is a time for giving back, but it's not just Christians who are volunteering their time and volunteers with American Muslim Voice Foundation say it's important for people of all faiths to chip in.

Fazela Begum came all the way from the Bay Area just to help Sacramento's homeless on Christmas Eve. She says every time she sees homeless people on the streets her heart aches.

"It's so cold, I can barely stand out for a minute and I feel like, 'Oh my goodness, there are so many people who stand all night, they sleep in the cold outside and it's so cold,'" Begum said.

That's why she wanted to do something about it.

"I wish I can help them in some way, and that's when I heard about this organization and I just came here," Begum said.

She was one of 75 volunteers with the American Muslim Voice who served 1,000 dinners at Loaves & Fishes. Yet, the organization's president, Khalid Saeed, says 175 wanted to come.

"So we had to tell people stay home," Saeed said.

This is the fifth year they have volunteered on Christmas Eve, a time that Saeed says does have religious significance for Muslims.

"Jesus Christ is part of our religion, to believe that he was a true profit born to Virgin Mary," Saeed said.

Saeed said his group volunteering Sunday helped dispel other myths about Islam. Myths he believes are coming from America's extreme far right.

"Their organizations and foundations are spending millions of dollars to create hate against Muslims and Islam," Saeed said.

Begum said she doesn't listen to the hate, instead she does what she can to help the needy.

"A Hindu, Muslim, Christian, we're all the same in God's eyes," Begum said.