Where Hindus help organise Muslim prayer meet

September 26th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Malappuram (Kerala), Sep 26 (IANS) About 600,000 Muslims converged here Friday evening for an annual prayer meet, which sees Hindu families playing a key role by either providing their land and buildings or by volunteering to help out in whatever way they can.Organised by the Ma’dinu Ssaquafathil Islamiyya, a society that runs many charitable institutions, this is the 22nd session of the prayer meet.

As the Islamiyya campus is confined to around 20 acres and cannot accommodate all the pilgrims, the prayers are held in a dozen plots along the national highway from Palakkad to Kozhikode.

“Out of the 12 venues we have readied for the prayers, two belong to Hindu families,” said Ummer Melmuri, a spokesperson of the mammoth prayer meet.

No rent is charged for using the plots and organisers say Hindus in the region help out in conducting the programme.

“We have been providing our one-and-a-half acres of land along the highway for prayers for the last 10 years. We have very good relations with the Muslim community here,” P.K. Sreekumar, who hails from a traditional Hindu family near the Islamiyya headquarters, told IANS.

The residents here don’t feel troubled by the huge gathering that spills onto the highway.

“It is true that traffic get disrupted on highway for around 12 hours due to the huge crowd. But no one complains about it. After all the meeting is only a one-day affair,” said K. Chandran, another resident.

Chandran said he also volunteers to help the organisers in arranging parking space for vehicles ferrying pilgrims.

“As the venues remain scattered, toilet facilities are a problem for many people. We allow them to use our toilets,” he added.

According to Ummer, out of around 5,500 volunteers in the programme, many are Hindus.

K.P. Haridasan, another Hindu resident, has provided the basement of his multi-storied shopping complex as a prayer venue.

“The basement will be used for prayers by women. For many years I have been giving my land for prayers. Now, I’ve constructed a building on the land so I told them to use it,” he said.

The entire prayer meet is to be made available on the Internet.

“For believers who could not come here, arrangements have been made so that they can watch the prayers live. At seven venues outside the state, the prayers would be shown on big screens. Four of these venues are in Gulf countries,” said Ummer.

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