The public celebration of the birth of Mohammed is known as Mawlid, and was celebrated this year on March 20th or March 25th, under the Sunni or Shi’a traditions respectively.
But the Muslims of America, the front group for Jamaat ul-Fuqra, are celebrating the event on Saturday in downtown Binghamton, New York. Binghamton is the nearest large town to Deposit, which — as regular readers already know — is the home of Islamberg, the national headquarters of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, the followers of the Sheikh Gilani.
Maybe the difference in date is due to the fact that the sheikh and his disciples are Sufis, and not Sunnis or Shi’ites. According to The Press & Sun-Bulletin:
Downtown event to mark prophet’s birthday
The Muslims of the Americas group intends to celebrate the prophet Muhammad’s birthday in downtown Binghamton.
The community traditionally observed Milad-un-Nabi (celebration of the Holy Prophet) with a parade, singing and other activities at its privately owned property in Hancock, where 35 to 40 Muslim families live.
One of the ways you can tell this celebration is from a Pakistan-based group is that they call it Milad an-Nābi (Urdu) rather than Mawlid an-Nābi (Arabic). If the organization were an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, it would almost certainly refer to the occasion as Mawlid.
This year, though, the group wants to expand the celebration to include a parade and other activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Binghamton.
“We’re trying to do an interfaith thing, we’re reaching out to the community to do a program based on unity,” said Maryam A. Rahim, event coordinator. “We haven’t been very well known … We want everyone to come out and celebrate, maybe ask questions.”
The first-ever celebration of Muhammad’s birthday in Binghamton will include a parade starting at 11 a.m. on Court Street from Chenango to Front streets and then back to Chenango Street. One lane of downtown’s main street will be closed during the parade, said city spokesman Andrew Block, who also said the group secured the appropriate permits to hold the celebration.
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After the parade, activities are scheduled in front of the old Broome County Court-house. The list of guest speakers includes the Rev. Douglas Taylor of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton and Diane O’Heron, a professor at Broome Community College.
Rahim said within the Muslim community, some adherents disagree with a formal celebration of Muhammad’s birthday, claiming it is excess and not in keeping with the prophet’s modest lifestyle.
Others consider the observance of Milad-un-Nabi to be just as important as Eid-ul-Fitr, which is the celebration after the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Adha, or the pilgrimage to Mecca, she said.
Everyone should pay attention to the sanitized history of MOA given in the next paragraph, which must have been pulled from the group’s press release or PR website and published in the newspaper without any checking or further research:
Muslims of the Americas was formed in the 1980s when several families migrated from ghetto properties in New York City to Hancock to make a new start on their own property in a clean, rural environment, Rahim said. The community includes a mosque and a private school.
There’s a little bit more to MOA than that, including a history of gun-running, money laundering, welfare fraud, firebombings, and murder.
Check our sidebar listings at the left for extensive background information on MOA and Jamaat ul-Fuqra, or visit The Politics of CP. An informed citizenry is the bastion of democracy.
Have fun, Binghamton. Happy Birthday to Mo!
Hat tip: MM.