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Standing with the Shia community this Ashura

  • Published at 12:02 am October 12th, 2016
Standing with the Shia community this Ashura

Today is Ashura, one of the holiest days of the year for Shia Muslims.

This year brings us a fresh chance to leave behind sectarian tensions and stand with Bangladesh’s Shia community, who comprise of a small but vibrant, valued, and valuable minority among Muslims in Bangladesh.

Many will remember how last year’s Ashura was marred by violence, when bomb attacks at a Shia community procession to mark the holy day killed a teenage boy and injured more than 100 people.

About a week later, gunmen opened fire on a Shia mosque in Bogra, killing the muezzin and three others.

These attacks were an affront to our spirit of sectarian harmony, and have no place in Bangladesh.

This is not who we are.

We must all stand vigilant and united to make sure last year’s shameful and cowardly acts are not repeated this year or any other year for that matter.

Unlike many other nations, Bangladesh does not have a history of Shia-Sunni conflict. We certainly cannot afford to start going down that road now. Nor will we.

Let us stand together to ensure a safe and harmonious Ashura for all. Bangladesh’s longstanding history of religious tolerance and communal solidarity is much stronger than the hate of the tiny minority who wish to undermine it.

Ashura symbolises a struggle against injustice, recalling, when, 1,300 years ago, Imam Hussein (RA) took a stand against the brutal forces of Yazid in the fields of Karbala.

Let us not stand for any injustices on this holy day.

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