ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Thousands of Caferis gather in Istanbul’s Halkalı district to mar Aşu Day and commemorate the killing of Caleph Ali’s son Hussein and his relatives in 682. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK
Thousands of Shiite Muslims gathered together to commemorate the battle of Karbala in Istanbul’s Halkalı district, while some sought a public holiday declaration so more could easily attend events in the future.
“I want to be here every year to share Hussein’s pain, but it is so difficult for us to attend while we are working,” said Erbay Aydeniz, a worshipper who attended yesterday’s event.
The battle of Karbala, where Ali’s son Hussein and his relatives and supporters were killed on the 10th day of Muharrem in 682 (year 61 in the Islamic calendar) by the forces of Yezid, son of the Umayyad caliphate, is commemorated every year by the participation of many Caferi (a sect of Shiites) and Sunni
Turkish Caferi leader Selahattin Özgündüz said they proposed a law to declare the day to be a public holiday.
“We believe the law proposal, which was sent to the assembly recently, will be supported by all political parties and representatives so we could attend the events with inner calm and share our prophet’s pain as good as we celebrate feast days,” Özgündüz said.
Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
also joined this year’s commemoration events. Kılıçdaroğlu gave messages of peace.
“Our duty is to take a lesson from experiences of the past. There shouldn’t be any hatred between the sects of Islam, between Shiites, Alevis and Sunnis,” he said.Donating blood
During this year’s commemorations, there were also some changes to tradition. Instead of worshippers’ flagellating themselves with chains to feel the suffering of Hussein’s horrific death, they donated blood to the Turkish Red Crescent.
“We are expecting 1,000 blood donations today,” Red Crescent director Hüsnü Altunay told the Hürriyet Daily News.