Kirklees Muslims gather for peace parade in Heckmondwike

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Young Muslims from across the district celebrated peace and friendship when they took part in a children’s procession to mark the festival of Eid Milad.

The colourful parade was attended by 600 worshippers from mosques in Batley, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, the Spen Valley and Huddersfield.

The Kirklees office of global spiritual movement Dawat-e-Islami organised the youth procession to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, which fell on Christmas Eve.

Children waved green flags with daffodils and tulips attached to them, symbolising their love for nature and the environment, and wore green turbans and white tunics to mean purity and love.

Senior imams led the group through the streets of Heckmondwike and distributed free cartons of biryani rice to passers-by, before gathering at the Kanzul Iman Jamia mosque for prayers and hot milk.

“The Islamic festival of Eid Milad has been celebrated for centuries. Its purpose is to spread a message of love and to bring together people from different communities,” said senior Muslim scholar Mufti Shams Ul-Huda Khan Misbahi.

“This is why hard-line extremist political groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and ISIS do not believe in this important Islamic festival. They have openly banned Eid Milad celebrations in those areas of the Middle East or Afghanistan which are controlled by them.”

The festival’s marginalisation in terrorist-controlled Islamic heartlands has led to mosques in other countries making a commitment to celebrate it.

“Lots of Mosques feel it is nowmore important than ever to organise these Eid Milad public peace processions which are helping a great deal to teach our youth about the true peaceful message of Islam,” added Mufti Misbahi.