Unity Week;

Thousands of Muslims celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday in Bolton

Carrying religious banners and singing prayers, men and boys from all over the UK yesterday walked from Makka Mosque in Grecian Crescent, Great Lever, to the mosque on Auburn Street in Daubhill

Thousands of Muslims gathered to walk through Bolton to celebrate the birthday of the prophet Mohammed.

Carrying religious banners and singing prayers, men and boys from all over the UK yesterday walked from Makka Mosque in Grecian Crescent, Great Lever, to the mosque on Auburn Street in Daubhill.

Coaches brought worshippers of all ages from places such as Huddersfield, Sheffield and as far away as London, to mark the occasion.

The annual event, which is in its 20th year, began at noon when crowds began to gather at the mosque where organisers had laid on food for the visitors.

A short time later, the crowds walked for about an hour through 12 areas of Bolton after which they said prayers, chanted and heard speeches at the Daubhill mosque.

Shehzad Arif, one of the organisers, said: “People from all over the UK have come together to celebrate the prophet’s birthday.

“We get together for the holy march to promote peace in the community and communication with people from different areas.

“This is particularly good for the young people as they get to meet others of their age and faith from different areas and backgrounds.

“It is a celebration of our faith, our prophet and Islam.

 “We met up and enjoyed food and got warm before the holy march began and we walked through 12 areas of Bolton to bring peace into people’s hearts.

“We then said prayers and chanted names and listened to speeches which were in English and other languages to cater for all the community.”

Arif Khan, aged 50, had travelled from Sheffield for the event. He said: “I have come to celebrate the birthday of the prophet Mohammed.

“We take part to give thanks and to promote peace and unity. It is about sticking and working together and understanding each other.”

Usman Farook, aged 33, came from Huddersfield on a coach with 50 other people, said: “We come here to celebrate the birthday of our prophet.

“We bring all Muslims all together here.”

The celebration walk meant that roads were closed along Grecian Crescent, Rishton Lane, Settle Street, Higher Swan Lane, Bridgeman Street, High Street, Adelaide Street and Auburn Street until about 3pm.

The organisers arranged and paid for the policing and traffic management of the event.

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