Milad Rally in US Triggers Controversy
By Khalid Hasan

Washington, DC: A celebratory procession taken out on Sunday in Coney Island, New York, to mark the Prophet’s birthday (pbuh), carried a 20-foot high model that the leaders of the procession claimed was a replica of his mausoleum. This most unusual practice, unknown so far in any Muslim country or expatriate communities in the West, has triggered a controversy.
The proponents of the practice claim that if the Shias can display “tazias” to mourn the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions, why can’t the Sunnis do the same to celebrate the birthday of the true messenger. While most clerics are silent, a couple have described the practice as “bida’at”, or something undesirable and impermissible.
There were 60 to 70 families taking part in the Coney Island procession, including women and children. There are about 100 mosques in the greater New York area, most of which continue to skirmish with one another over intricate theological controversies or “masai’l”. Comrade Shahid of the Pakistan-US Freedom Forum told Daily Times that it was unfortunate that religious leaders and clerics, instead of bringing the community together to deal with the problems it has faced since 9/11, are dragging it into divisive and unnecessary theological debates and religious strife. (Courtesy Daily Times)


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