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Shia Muslims in Bangladesh mark Ashura with traditional procession

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The Shia Muslim community in Bangladesh is observing Ashura, commemorating the 7th century martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein with customary fervour and reverence.

Devotees marked the occasion by participating in a procession known as Tazia, or a replica of the mausoleum of Hussein, on Tuesday, reports

Clad in black clothes, they walked barefoot from Old Dhaka's Hussaini Dalan Imambara to Dhanmondi's Jhigatola to the tune of beating drums and traditional Ashura chants.

Every year, mourners lead the procession out of the Imambara and march along different streets of Dhaka before stopping at a symbolic Karbala ground in Dhanmondi. But the procession was scaled back during the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashura is observed on the 10th day of the lunar month Muharram in the Islamic calendar. It marks the climax of the Battle of Karbala in modern-day Iraq when Imam Hussein ibn Ali was slain in 680 AD.

In years gone by, young men would be seen flogging themselves with sharp objects in a passionate re-enactment of the martyrdom in the Tazia procession. But police imposed a ban on carrying sharp objects and sticks following a militant attack on mourners in 2015.

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