A coffin, a horse and a flag

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SHAFAQNA – Bradford City Centre was the scene of a rather unusual procession this Saturday (June 18th) as members of “The 10th Day” and “I am Hussain” took to the streets to honour one of their most revered religious figures: Imam Hussain ibn Ali (AS), the third Imam of Islam.

As Muslims across the world are marking the fast of Ramadan, both organizations were keen to offer their community an offering of solidarity, cohesion, and togetherness, through the acknowledgement of one of Islam’s greatest martyrs, and leaders: Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

A historical figure whose glory, unparalleled courage, and strength in the face of tyranny left an indelible mark on History, Imam Hussain (AS) has remained central to Shia Islam. Still, his life … and his death echo of a Truth which brilliance has transcended time, and touched communities far beyond the Islamic realm.

It is his commitment to truth and justice which “The 10th Day” and “I am Hussain” wanted to highlight, and pay homage to in Bradford this Saturday.

Over a thousand years ago, in the burning desert of Karbala (Iraq), Imam Hussain and his 72 valiant supporters faced the tyranny of Yazid – a tyrant over nations. Cornered by an army several thousand-men strong, Imam Hussain refused to bow.

Where most would have faltered, Imam Hussain stood, unbending, and undefeated in his determination to speak against absolutism and injustice.

It is such a powerful message of resistance and solidarity which “The 10th Day” and “I am Hussain” came to celebrate in Bradford – hoping to inspire a new sense of social cooperation within their community.

To join in their efforts were many well-known local officials, among whom Bradford’s Deputy Lord Mayor Alun Griffiths, and MP Imran Hussain.

While we may all differ in our faiths, lifestyles and political sensitivities, we all share in those values which stand central to our humanity: human rights, and an innate yearning for justice.

Amid the crowd was put on display, a coffin, a horse and the flag of Imam Hussain (AS) – the symbols of a battle fought, reminders of our collective history.

If many passers-by were a bit dubious as to what a coffin, a horse and a flag were doing in their city centre, all were soon keen to join in the symbolic of such a gathering.

As Sister Mehvish noted (a volunteer for both organizations) success will come in our ability to share in the symbolic, and visual relevance of Karbala to better raise awareness to Imam Hussain’s message to humanity.

As MP Imran Hussain noted: “the events of over 1000 years ago should never be forgotten.”

 

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