11th Special Pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke
NICOSIA, 29 November 2017 - On the occasion of the Mawlid-al Nabi - a special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke took place today, on the 29th of November. Mufti of Cyprus, H.E Dr Talip Atalay led prayers at noon for 950 faithful of Turkish origin that cannot otherwise cross the buffer zone in the divided island of Cyprus.
Mawlid al-Nabi, or Mevlid in Turkish, is the observance and celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad. Mawlid is celebrated on the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar, called Rabi’al-Awwal. Mawlid begins in the evening of 29 November and ends in the evening of 30 November 2017.
The special pilgrimage was organised and led by the Mufti of Cyprus, coordinated by the Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) and facilitated by UNFICYP and UN Police. This was the 11th pilgrimage since 2014, and the third in 2017 arranged within the framework agreement of the RTCYPP. To this date 9500 pilgrims have been able to cross and pray at Hala Sultan Tekke through this special arrangement.
“We are thankful that through our joint efforts as religious leaders of Cyprus, with the support of the Office of RTCYPP under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, we were able to have this special pilgrimage to Hala Sultan Tekke. Once again our hearts are filled with hope. Today’s pilgrimage is a testament to the commitment of the religious leaders of Cyprus to continue working together for religious freedom, human rights and reconciliation. We are grateful to all those who support our efforts,” said Mufti Talip Atalay.
H.E. Ambassador of Sweden, Anna Olsson Vrang and Rev. Father Mashdotz Ashkarian, representing Archbishop Khoren of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cyprus, were on site at Hala Sultan Tekke and extended their best wishes for Mawlid-al Nabi to Mufti Talip Atalay and to all Muslims living in Cyprus. “I’m grateful to the Cyprus religious leaders’, UNFICYP and UN Police for their efforts and cooperation to enable today’s special pilgrimage.” said Ambassador Olsson Vrang.