The 25th Annual Muslim Day Parade kicked off its festivities Sunday, Sept, 26th.
Despite all the negative press, protest rallies and marches, for and against the Park51Community Center and Mosque scheduled to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood 9 fatal years ago. Not even the burning of the Qu’ran and the muslim civil unrest going on here and abroad, could stop this peaceful world event from happening.
Prior to the festivities beginning there was a great deal of confusion amongst the police and the participants. It seems the location of the commencement of the parade was changed at the last minute? This year instead of beginning at 41st & Madison, it began at 38th & Madison, even though their flyers and official website, Americanmuslimdayparade.com were printed and running the previous address?
This also caused a great delay in starting their 1 pm zhur (prayer) because of the sudden change in location they had to wait for the police to stop traffic. It really seemed like the police weren’t ready to close the intersection in time for the zhur (prayer). Due to the police not blocking off the intersections fast enough, the prayer tarps could not be laid down either. The clock was ticking and the Imam was begging the police to get the intersections blocked! Police pointed out that they (the attendees) weren’t where they were supposed to be, hence 41st & Madison ave.
Despite all the chaos and confusion, the tarps were finally laid and the prayer commenced. The Theme of the Parade this year was unknown until the banners displaying “Da’wa, To Educate and Rewrite Islam’s History”, were revealed during the parade. The grand marshals this year were Nihad Awad of ‘CAIR’ (Council of Islamic Relations) who is also known for his support of the Hamas, and Dr.Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council.
During their 1 pm prayer that stretched across Madison Avenue and 38th and 37th street, I only noticed one protester. It was an older gentleman quietly making his way through the religious crowd carrying his signs and pamphlets contradicting the scriptures in the Qu’ran, as the blanket of Muslim worshipers prayed.
The parade finally began with several people carrying flags representing the many different Arab and Muslim countries and groups that participated in this year’s parade. This was followed by the police Honor Guard band playing “This is My Country”, Followed by the Muslim Police Officers Association.
There were several local masjids, mosques, floats celebrating the Victory Mosque that destroyed the great Jewish Temple? There were several Muslim women’s groups, schools, students wearing hijabs, niqabs, Burkas of the most beautiful and vibrant fabrics. Da’wah was loud and bold for the Ummah (community) of North America, offering lots of loving and peaceful quotes from the profit Mohammed. There were constant chants of Takbir! Takbir! Takbir (GOD) and “We are the Muslims! The mighty, mighty Muslims!”, throughout the parade.
In addition to setting up old glory as their backdrop they also donned the stage with a rabbi and a priest that seemed like more ‘PC’ ornaments than anything else, Both were presented with an award from the Park51 foundation. NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s award was accepted by one of his female aides?
The only disruption was, during the announcements of the male guest leaders on stage a woman yelled out from the crowd, “where are the Muslim woman leaders?!” this only drew silence at first, then she yelled it again “where are the Muslim women leaders?!” every male in the crowd stayed absolutely quite. Then a Muslim woman donned in her best Burka called the woman who spoke out, stupid and demanded she leave the area? Interesting?
Other than that small outburst the parade went on with great fervor. There were Muslim musical acts, poets and comedic performances, as well as multiple vendors along Madison ave selling literature, clothing, fabrics and food for everyone to enjoy, just to add more of a humanistic feel to this tense celebration of Islam, the Muslim faith and culture and the building of the Park51 Community Center and Mosque. The main stage was stationed at 23rd and Madison and as always the parade and all its festivities were ended with a special Salat (prayer).
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