Shia Muslims chanting ‘down with Isis’ join Ashura procession in Sydney

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SHAFAQNA – Thousands of Shia Muslims marched through the Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday to mark Ashura, the anniversary of the death of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husayn Ibn Ali.

The black-clad procession numbered more than 2,000 and stretched almost a kilometre, led by women in chadors and green headbands chanting, “down with Isis” and “Husayn is for peace”.

At the lead was a large sign linking Husayn’s death at the battle of Karbala in AD680 at the hands of the caliph Yazid to the death of Jesus and new threats from religious extremists in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Oppressors attacked Jesus Christ to crucify him, but he was victorious. After centuries, similar people attacked Imam Husayn to demolish truth and justice, but he was victorious,” the sign read.

“Today, terrorists have risen again. Who will be victorious over them?”

Forty-seven-year-old Rasoul Al Mousawi is recovering from surgery after being shot in the shoulder with pellets outside a prayer hall in Sydney’s south-west on Monday morning.

Al Mousawi’s wife told Guardian Australia he was still in hospital but in good condition. She added that she was shaken by the incident, but did not fear for her safety.

Witnesses said the prayer hall had been targeted by supporters of the militia group Islamic State (Isis) in the hours before the shooting, and that a security guard had been attacked by adherents of the conservative Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam on Friday.

Extremist groups such as Isis ostensibly belong to the majority Sunni sect of Islam and consider Shia Muslims, who make up about 10% of the world’s Muslim population, to be heretics.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, on Tuesday morning linked the shooting to the death of 18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider, a “known terror suspect” who was shot dead after stabbing two policemen.

“Obviously we saw the attack on two policemen in Victoria a month or so back,” Abbott said.

“It seems there is an Isil death cult influence on this shooting in Sydney in the last 24 hours or so. The important thing is for all of us to absolutely reject this death cult,” he said. Isil is Abbott’s preferred term for Isis.

Shia Muslims in the procession were keen to play down the prospect of sectarian tensions in the Middle East spilling over into Australia.

“We know we’re a target and we have to be vigilant, but we also understand that these people [Isis supporters] are a minority,” one marcher, Husayn Al-Ramadani, said.

“There’s no sectarian thing that’s going to explode in Australia. We want to live in harmony with other Muslims and the wider Australian community.

“We’re very fortunate to live in Australia and to have the religious freedoms that come with that.”

Al-Ramadani said Husayn’s death at the hands of the then-leader of the Muslim community, Yazid, had parallels with the fight against Isis.

“Husayn was massacred by people who believed they are Muslims, who believed they are the true Islam. Similarly if you asked members of Isis, they’d say they are on the right path,” he said.

“Sadly they’re misguided. Our religion has been hijacked by thugs.”

source : http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/04/shia-muslims-chanting-down-with-isis-ashura-procession-sydney

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