Today marks the beginning of Ashura. Yom Ashura or Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء ʻĀshūrā’) is the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. For the majority of Shia Muslims, as well as some Sunni Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: October 10, 680 CE) in the Islamic calender. This day of mourning is celebrated throughout the world.
Ashura is known for the self flagellation of individuals in mourning, many of who cut or bruise their bodies and smear blood on themselves and their children as a sign of their deep mourning, particularly in but not limited to Islamic countries. In the video at the end of this article which shows the march in Toronto today, one can see the marchers striking their chests in a type of self flagellation as they chant ‘ لبيك يا حسين ‘ (Arabic) ‘we are at your service O Hussain’. (English translation)
This procession began on Doris Avenue and then north down Yonge Street for the commemoration of Ashura. This was mainly a procession of Iranian Shia Muslims.
There was also a counter protest against this march by the Toronto chapter of the Communist Party of Iran. This group is not only against the Islamist regime in Iran, but religion in general, calling it the ‘opium of the masses’.
As a result, there were clashes between the two groups, with many police in attendance.
A concerning observation is that neither of these groups are standing up for democracy. They are both totalitarian ideologies, and they use Western democracy to further their agendas.