World Bulletin/News Desk
Thousands of Muslims took to the streets on Sunday in a colorful parade to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, known as Mawlid Nabawi.
"Muslims in the country want the government to declare Propeht Muhammad's birthday a public holiday," Faizal Aboo, the executive director of the Al-Traq Qadeia Sunni Association, told The Anadolu Agency.
Thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Blantyre, Malawi's second largest city and the country's finance and commerce center, to celebrate the occasion.
The Ziyara Parade, as it is locally known, started from Kanjedza Mosque in Limbe Town to Malawi's main soccer ground, the Chichiri Stadium.
"Malawi, as a democratic country, needs to consider Muslims to celebrate this birthday while at home," said Aboo
"Those working should be given a full day off for these celebrations," he added.
Mawlid Nabawi is a national holiday in Muslim countries.
Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister Atupele Muluzi, a devout Muslim, represented Malawi President Peter Mutharika in the celebration.
Muluzi vowed to extend the Muslim community's request to the president for consideration.
He was, however, quick to urge all Muslims in the country to work together and be united.
Government figures suggest that Muslims account for 12 percent of Malawi's 14 million-strong population, while Muslims puts the number at 36 percent.
Islam is the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.
President Mutharika, for his part, appealed to all Muslims in the country to live in harmony and love one another.
"I am very glad to be here today to celebrate with Muslim brothers on the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad," he said during a Ziyara Parade organized by Muslims in the capital Lilongwe.
Mutharika asserted that throughout his life, Prophet Muhammad preached love and unity.
"My message to Malawians is that lets forget the past and start the New Year 2015 with full of love towards one another," he added.
The president also emphasized the need for Malawians to stop hatred, conflicts and violence against one another.
Manzoor Bheda, the chairman of the Lilongwe Sunni Foundation's board of trustees, said the parade was one of the many activities organized this year to celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
"There will be praying for good rains today," he said. "But most importantly, we would be sharing food with the poor."
Malawi's economy is reliant on agriculture.
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