More than 4,000 people are expected to attend Muslim Unity Day on Saturday at a northern California theme park, an event meant to put aside tensions and differing backgrounds.
"There are no lectures," said Asma Mangrio, who co-founded the event at Santa Clara's Great America amusement park, now it its third year. "We just want everyone to have fun together."
Mangrio, who is of Pakistani descent, grew up in Chicago where the annual family visit to an amusement park was the highlight of her holidays. When thinking of a way to connect Muslims divided by social, economic or sect differences, she fell back on those summer days with her family.
"We all pray the same way, eat halal food, greet each other the same way," she said. "It's important for us to see those similarities."