Earlier today, I was walking with someone in the same volunteering program as I am when we saw a police van. She was immensely curious, and I was, too, so we went to see what was happening, and I was amazed by what I saw.
I’ve never lived in a place where demonstrations are a common thing, and I’ve also never lived in a place with a large Muslim population until now. I don’t know much about Islam or Arabic, and much of what I’ve heard in the States is dangerous rhetoric I know to be untrue.
So the group of Muslims marching up the street in Glasgow took me by surprise. I understood it at first as a demonstration against ISIS, since they had signs clearly expressing their disapproval.
Unsurprisingly, though, it wasn’t that simple.
The march was connected to both an organization and a holiday, which was explained to us by a lovely young man from the march that stopped to ease our confusion. This is the information sheet he gave us:
The man explained that the corruption Hussain was fighting against and gave his life to resist is represented in today’s ISIS, and they wanted people to know of the figure they admire that inspires them to speak out against the violence, terror, and oppression.
On the same day of the Islamic calendar each year, in the month of Muharram, is the Day of Ashura, which is a day of mourning for Hussain, the prophet’s grandson, in the Shi’a branch of Islam, although I could not say if it is present in other branches, as well. I do not know much about it besides what the man told me and what I got from a quick look online.
The organization tied to the march is Who is Hussain?, which aims to “inspire people through the timeless example of Hussain and bring positive change in the world.”
I hope they keep it up, and I’m glad I was able to learn a bit about Islam.
Your Bonnie Celtophile,