UP Muharram banners hail Shias fighting IS as martyrs

Equate their efforts with Hussain's Karbala sacrifice

The ongoing war against the Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq has found an echo in this year’s Muharram in Uttar Pradesh.

During Muharram, Muslims, especially from the Shia community, mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at Karbala in Iraq in the seventh century.

Members of the Shia community in UP have put up banners at ‘Imambaras’ (buildings where Shias mourn the Muharram martyrdom) in the Meerut district, hailing the “martyrdom” of fellow Shias engaged in fighting the IS in Iraq and other places.

“Zillat ki zindagi se maut achhi (Death is preferable to a life of humiliation),” said one of the banners put up before an Imambara in the district.

The banners also depict Shia fighters and several prominent clerics of the community from Iraq and other places.

The banners have also sought to equate the sacrifices by Shia community members in their efforts to check the IS advance to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

“Maro to Hussain ki tarah (if one has to die, he should die like Hussain),” said another banner.

Prominent Shia clerics found nothing wrong in hailing the Shias fighting the IS as martyrs.
“They (the Shias) are fighting to save their community. They are fighting the tyranny of the IS, which is killing innocent people. They are martyrs,” said All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board spokesman Maulana Yasoob Abbas.

However, he added that it would not be proper to compare the sacrifices of the Shias fighting the IS with Imam Hussain’s martyrdom.

Incidentally, a young Shia cleric from Lucknow had also been involved in fighting the IS in Iraq. Nasir Abbaqti, a student of Theology at a university at Nazaf in Iraq, had been assigned the task of safeguarding Shia shrines from the attacks by the IS.

Muslims, mainly Shias, will mourn on Tuesday, the 10th day of Muharram, the death of Imam Hussain and his 72 companions in the battle of “Karbala”, fought between a small group of supporters and relatives of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and a much larger military detachment from the forces of Yazidis.

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