Press Shia – A senior Iraqi cleric slammed the decision by Egyptian authorities to close down the Imam Husayn Mosque in Cairo on the day of Ashura.
Press Shia Agency – Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Sadruddin al-Qubanchi, the Friday prayer leader of Najaf, called on Egyptian Ministry of Endowment officials to reconsider their decision.
He dismissed Egyptian officials’ claim that they are making the move to prevent an attack by Salafist hardliners against the mosque.
Hujjat al-Islam al-Qubanchi also called on Egypt’s main Islamic centre, al-Azhar University, to stand up against spread of extremist views in the Arab country.
Last year, too, Egypt’s Ministry of Endowment closed down the Imam Husayn Mosque in Cairo on the eve of Ashura as the Arab country’s Shi’a Muslims were preparing to hold mourning ceremonies there.
During Muharram, the first month in the lunar Hirji calendar, Shi’a Muslims around the world hold ceremonies to mourn the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Husayn and his companions in the Battle of Karbala in the year 680 AD.
Imam Husayn and his companions were martyred on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, which falls on October 12 this year.
In Egypt, the small Shi’a 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 Shi’as, which observers believe is due to the widespread anti-Shi’a propaganda by Wahhabi and Salafist elements.