Muslims Celebrate Muhammad’s Birth, Denounce Terrorism At Masjid-e-Ali

Mohammad celebration 1-10-154

Sayed Mostafa Qazwini of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, Cal. speaks at the Jan. 10 celebration of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s birthday at Masjid-e-Ali Mosque.

Sunni and Shia Muslims gathered Jan. 10 at the Masjid-e-Ali Mosque to celebrate the birthday of their Prophet Muhammad and to denounce the violence carried out in his name.

The Cedar Grove Lane mosque holds its interfaith service annually to celebrate Muhammad’s birthday, said mosque Imam Rizwan Rizvi.

“The objective is to look at and ponder over the teachings of the prophet,” Rizvi said. “Especially in this day and age, when the name of the prophet has been distorted.”

Several hundred people gathered at the mosque to hear four speakers, after which they shared a dinner.

Speaking were Aqeela Naqvi, a graduate student at New York University in New York; Sayed Mostafa Qazwini of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, Cal.; Imam Hamad hmad Chebli of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey in South Brunswick and Imanul Haq, a professor of religious studies at Elmhurst College in Chicago.

Naqvi said that part of the blame for the distortion of Muhammad’s teachings lies with Muslims themselves, who, she said, generally have stayed silent.

“We have created a vacuum for others to come in and define him for us,” she said.

Referring to the Jan. 7 terrorist attack in Paris in which 10 staffers at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers were killed  by brothers who claimed to be part of Al Qaeda, Naqvi said that insults to Muhammad should not be answered by violence.

“We must not react with the violence which was never a part of his character,” she said.

Qazwini echoed part of what Naqvi said, saying that Muslims should not be afraid to speak up and to open their religion to others.

Qazwini, who Rizvi said was the only member of the Shia sect to speak, was the strongest denouncer of Muslims who commit violence in the name of their religion.

Muslims, he said, condemn the Paris attack “in the strongest terms. This is not a gift we present to the Prophet Muhammad on the anniversary of his birthday.”

“He would say, ‘I’m against that, I do not want any person to revenge me by murdering anyone,” Qazwini said.

“Religious violence is the most repugnant and the most despicable,” he said. “Religious violence destroys the humanity and the religion at the same time.”

At the same time, Qazwini said despite what is happening by some negative Muslims, he (Muhammad) is still attracting people to Islam and religion.”

Prior to the program, Rizvi said that we “condemn the acts of terrorism committed by these people who are not representing the true beliefs of Islam. They went out and committee this barbaric act, as they have been doing upon other Muslims and other human beings, and we condemn that with all the authority that we have.”

True believers, Rizvi said, do get angry at cartoons such as those published by Charlie Hebdo, but they do not get violent.

He said that “1.6 billion Muslims showed their anger by getting angry and frustrated and letting their anger out in protests in a peaceful manner against these cartoons that were drawn.”


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