Traffic on one of London’s busiest roads was brought to a standstill yesterday as thousands of Muslims commemorated the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, Hussain ibn Ali. The occasion, known as Ashura, is of huge importance to people of the Islamic faith and is commemmorated worldwide by millions of Muslims across the world, and huge crowds gathered, carrying flags and placards against terrorism.
Hussain ibn Ali was a revolutionary leader who made a stand against tyranny and oppression, demanding justice and the dignity of the society in which he lived. In his stand, he remained with only 72 supporters against an arm of thousands and yet still said that ‘death with dignity was better than a life of humiliation.” You can find out more about Hussain by following the campaign ‘Who Is Hussain.’
The purpose of the procession was to promote awareness to the stand of Hussain, and how his message was one that echoes to this day. Volunteers were giving out food, water, chocolates and information packs, encouraging bystanders to ask more and join them in their peaceful procession. The procession featured a short speech by Reverend Nadim Nassar, director and co-founder of the Awareness Foundation; he spoke of on the essence of peace and how to utilise the time to promote tolerance and acceptance of all faiths. He spoke of how Hussain was limited to no sect or faith, but rather that his message is a universal one that should be implemented in all societies across the world.
During the procession, the roads were closed at Marble Arch, and then continued towards London’s popular shopping destination, Oxford Street. Disrupting such a busy street was met with mainly positive responses, although some commuters were upset at cancellations and delays of some bus services in the area. Furthermore, a good many shops in the area were closed on this day, out of respect for the occasion.
The event was so large that the social media app Snapchat gave it its own platform in the form of a live story, which can still be viewed for up to 24 hours after the event. As always, we can depend on Twitter to react best to such an event; here are some of our favourites.
— Zainab Dashti (@zjdashti) October 12, 2016
Amazing scene from our meeting room which overlooks Oxford Street. pic.twitter.com/L6jNke8utJ
— Dr Clare Taylor (@CT_Microbiol) October 12, 2016
— Simon Snashall (@SnashallSimon) October 12, 2016
Amazing turn out for Muslims against terrorism in Oxford Street. Most common sense demo in London for ages. pic.twitter.com/5SFg0niVEJ
— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker) October 12, 2016