March on Melbourne

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Jan 14th -Some girls approached me in the heat with a bottle of water  and told me about Imam Hussein.

Every year Shia Muslims all over the world commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammad.

It is a long story so I will just say that he rejected corruption, slavery and oppression and was killed for his beliefs.

His consolation: Shia Muslims will lament his death on the 10th of Muharam (the first month of the Islamic calendar)

” It is one of the four sacred months of the year. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.

Muharram is so called because it is unlawful to fight during this month is important, the word is derived from the word haraam, meaning “sinful”.

It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days. The tenth day of Muharram is the Day of Ashura, which to Shia Muslims is part of the Mourning of Muharram.” Wiki

“Processions (Juloos) in the holy months of Muharram and Safar have traditionally taken place in public by mourners of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) for centuries. The aim of such processions is to carry on the public relations work which was started by Lady Zainab and the holy women in Karbala, and create awareness of Imam Hussein’s sacrifice and his message.”  Marching for Hussein.

The article (above) explains performing this march in the west, and the complications/additions that arise.

For example:

“”Die like Hussein? Saddam Hussein?!” That’s what one of the youth was asked by a non-Muslim while taking part in the procession.Furthermore, if a person has no idea about what a Muharram procession is, and while strolling down the footpath one is to suddenly come across a huge crowd of Muslims holding signs splattered with what appears to be blood, in addition to curiosity, it may very well just be the scariest moment of his/her life.

Instead, signs should be attractive with clear, bold, and simple colours. Additionally, dressing babies in bandanas with fake blood and making children wear fake chains isn’t too appealing. While it’s aimed at creating a visual of what happened in Karbala, perhaps we should keep our cultural context in mind and reserve these traditions to the private mourning sessions only.”

It also recommends giving blood -a modern way to save lives- and wearing black, but smiling encouragingly to the non-Muslims.

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