Egypt closes Shias’ mosque on eve of Ashura

Tehran, Oct 23, IRNA – Egypt’s Awqaf Ministry closed down the Imam Hussein (AS) Mosque in Cairo on the eve of Ashura as the Arab country’s Shia Muslims were preparing to hold mourning ceremonies there.

According to hamrinnews website, the mosque is closed from Thursday to Saturday, which marks Ashura. During Muharram, the first month in the lunar Hirji calendar, Shia Muslims around the world hold ceremonies to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions in the Battle of Karbala in the year 680 AD. Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions were martyred on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, which falls on October 24 this year. Egyptian Shias have slammed the government’s move to close the mosque on the eve of Ashura. Ahmed Rasim al-Nafis, senior Shia figure, described the move as illogical and indefensible. He regretted that the government takes similar unacceptable stances towards Ashura ceremonies every year. This is an indication of the domination of the Wahhabist ideology and the spread of ISIL discourse, he said. The Egyptian Shia Youth Association also condemned the government’s move. In Egypt, the small Shia population is harassed by authorities and treated with suspicion, being arrested - ostensibly for security reasons - but then being subjected to torrents of abuse by state security officers for their religious beliefs. The Arab country has been witnessing a rise in hate crimes against Shias, which observers believe is due to the widespread anti-Shia propaganda by Wahhabi and Salafist elements. **1664