Festival atmosphere as 2,000 Muslims join in celebrations
RECORD numbers of the city's Muslim community turned out for a parade to celebrate the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's birth.
More than 2,000 Muslim men marched through Normanton for the celebration, which has been likened to Christmas Day in the Christian calendar.
At the head of yesterday's procession, which started at the Darbar-e-Ali Ghamkol Sharifmosque in Dairyhouse Road, was organiser, Dr Allah Detta.
Dr Detta, 52, is the son of the late Muhammad Bashir, who ran the first parade in 1981.
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He said: "It was the 32nd annual procession in the city to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
"The actual anniversary, which is set according to the lunar calendar, was on Thursday and so this was the first opportunity to hold a celebration event."
The procession made its colourful way, with people wearing green and white, along Malcolm Street, Rose Hill Street, Normanton Road, Lower Dale Road, Almond Street, Walbrook Road and St Thomas Road, before ending at the Jamia Mosque in Rose Hill Street 90 minutes later.
Crowds of people took to the streets along the parade route, which included cars decorated with tinsel, flags and balloons. It passed houses decorated with lights, giving the area a festive feel.
Once at the mosque, everyone went inside for prayers, food, holy chanting and to hear guest speakers.
Dr Detta said: "Beforehand we were pretty sure we would have more people in the parade than before and, although it has to be confirmed, I am sure we had a record turnout.
"Last year, snow threatened to affect the parade but we were lucky that this year's snow cleared and the sun came out."
Women did not join in the parade but spent the day meeting in small groups at each other's houses and cooking special foods, such as sweetmeats.