Security stepped up at Hussein Mosque on Day of Ashura
A Shi'ite Muslim prepares hot coals during a ceremony ahead of the coming Ashura - REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

CAIRO: Security forces increased their presence outside Hussein Mosque Friday in anticipation of potential Shiite celebrations on the Day of Ashura, Youm7 reported.

According to the Shiite sect, Ashura is a holy day of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali whowas killed in the battle Karbala in 680 A.D. Shiites celebrate the day by several rituals including dressing in black, slapping their chests while some men going further and flagellate themselves with chains in imitation of what they believe happened to the Imam Al Hussein.

Such rituals have been rejected by many Muslims claiming they are not related to Islam.

The head of Imam Hussein is believed to have been buried beneath the mausoleum at Al-Hussein Mosque.

The mausoleum was closed Thursday to prevent “Shiite fallacies” from happening on the Day of Ashura, the Endowment Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The closure is due to “the Shiite rituals that have no basis in Islam that might occur, and the problems that may result,” the statement read.

The ministry also warned it would take legal action in case of any violations on the Day of Ashura which falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Almost the entirety of Egypt’s Muslim population is Sunni with a small minority of Shiites. In 2013, a Shiite cleric and three others were lynched by a mob after what many considered inciting remarks by Muslim Brotherhood figures.


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