55 students from 30 countries captivate İzmir residents with poems of praise

By: HASAN ÇİLİNGİR,ÖZDEMİR ÖZKAN and İZMİR

A total of 55 students from 30 countries captivated hundreds of spectators with their recitations of naats — poems in praise of the Prophet Muhammad — during a ceremony held in the Aegean province of İzmir on Monday evening to celebrate Holy Birth Week.

Holy Birth Week marks the Prophet Muhammad’s birth and takes place between April 14 and 20 each year across the Islamic world.

The Holy Birth Week ceremony, organized by the İzmir Intercultural Dialogue Center (İZDİM) and the Yeni Ümit (New Hope) magazine, was held at the Yamanlar Sport Hall in İzmir’s Karşıyaka district on Monday evening with the participation of hundreds of İzmir residents. Participants enjoyed recitations of naats, ilahis (praising God and extolling the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad) and kasides (odes mostly written for the Prophet) performed by 55 international students from Turkish schools in 30 countries across the globe. The ceremony started with a recitation from the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

Hmdia Meriem and Nouran Zayen from a Turkish school in Tunisia sang an ilahi named “İlham ile Dün Gece” (Last Night with Inspiration), receiving huge applause from the spectators. This performance was followed by Faruhi Mahmadsharif from a Turkish school in Tajikistan. He sang the ilahi “İnsanlığın Efendisi” (Master of Mankind).

Speaking during the event, İZDİM President Ömer Mustafa Aytekin said: “We want the people to speak about him [Prophet Muhammad], read about him and sing about him more in order to make people forget about the unrest created with recent hate speech rhetoric [being used by top government officials against the faith-based Hizmet movement inspired by the teachings of Islamic Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen] in public.”

Meanwhile, a celebration was held at the Hayri Gür Sports Hall in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on Monday night to mark Holy Birth Week with the participation of Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez, Trabzon Governor Abdil Celil Öz and Trabzon Mayor Orhan Fevzi Gümrükçüoğlu. The event was organized by the Religious Affairs Directorate.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN