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Sunday, March 08, 2009

The perfect Purim costume - Mohammed

Yerushalimey sends me an interesting entry from a calendar of local Jerusalem events today:
From: McLean Eliyahu

Hello friends, Come join us on at 8PM for a special evening to honour the convergence of 2 holy days, the Jewish Holiday of Purim and the Muslim Holiday of Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of the profit Muhammad. In a time when politics tends to divide our peoples, the convergence of the holy days can perhaps can serve as a bridge. Come and share insights about these traditions and celebrations. There will also be teaching about these holy days by special Jewish and Muslim teachers. Also joining will be a special guest, David Heinemann - Author of Sufi Therapy of the Heart. Please bring: a kosher vegetarian dish to share, as this will be the last meal before the Fast of Esther. You are welcome to bring musical instruments in the sprit of celebration for this time of joy for the Abrahamic family.
Yes indeed, today is Mawlid, supposedly Mohammed's birthday (although I see it is also supposed to be the anniversary of his death, perhaps a final Islamic borrowing borrowing of a Jewish tradition about Moses.) According to Sunnis, Mohammed was born/died on the 12th of Rabi'-ul-Awwal, according to Shi'ites, on the 17th.

Notice that in Jerusalem, some Jews try to actually bridge the gap between Islam and Judaism, as misguided as they might be. As Yerushalimey points out, "I wonder how many Muslims thought to make a similar joint celebration..." After all, we are supposedly both "divine religions," right?

(Speaking of, I have finally heard a Jew refer to Judaism as a "divine religion." He was none other than "rabbi" Ahron Cohen of Neturei Karta, speaking in Iran at an anti-Zionist conference last week.)

Purim, for some reason, is called "Eid al-Msakr" in auto-translated Arabic. I couldn't figure out what word that might really be ( المساخر ) , although I would like to believe that it is meant to come from the word "masquerade."

The upshot of all this is that, just like wearing green on Purim is an interesting tradition when it coincides with St. Patrick's Day, wearing a Mohammed costume should be appropriate this Purim.