'Karbala source of Shia-Sunni unity' - Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister
This was the first time Erdogan has joined the Ashura Day since coming to power in 2002.
The commemoration ceremony, honoring the martyrdom of grandson of Islam's prophet and the third revered Shia Imam Hossein (PBUH), was held in Halkali's Ashura Square on Thursday. Nearly 4,000 people attended the ceremony, including top state officials and representatives from diplomatic missions and civil societies.
Addressing Shia Muslims, Erdogan said, "Our prayers, cries, and screams have been echoing in the sky for 1,300 years."
“Hussein's sacrifice is [a] unification rather than a farewell, it is a beginning rather than an end, brotherhood rather than separation. It is solidarity and integration,” Erdogan emphasized at the ceremony, adding that the Karbala tragedy had caused all Muslims pain for more than a millennium.
“Nobody is superior to anyone in these lands, not the Sunni to the Shiites, not the Turkish to the Kurdish, the Laz to the Circassian or the Persian to the Arabs,” the prime minister added. “We are all the same in this land, together, brothers.”
The prime minister also condemned the terrorist attack during an Ashura ceremony held Wednesday in Iran's Chabahar city, where 39 people were killed and more than 80 wounded. “Killing innocent people is a shameful crime, be it for whatever reason, such as religion, ideology or ethnicity,” Erdogan said, according to Hurriyet daily.
Lastly, he urged the Sunnis and Shias to put aside their differences and unite.
Hussein ibn Ali (PBUH) was born in Medina in 626 CE and was martyred in 680 CE during the battle of Karbala. He was the son of Ali-ibn Abutalib (PBUH), the first Imam of the Shia.
Ashura ceremonies symbolize eternal and unwavering stance of truth against falsehood and humanity's struggle against tyranny realized by Imam Hussein (PBUH).
Ashura is the 10th day of the Islamic lunar month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.