JNN 17 Dec 2010 Ankara :Thousands of Turkish Shia braved freezing temperatures to commemorate the day of Ashura. There was a huge turnout at the Ashura Muharram in Turkey where marches and mourning consolations were taking place in Ankara and Istanbul, and many other places. Erdogan delivered a speech about the moral meanings of the occasion.
Senior adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ali Akbar Velayati, was among the attendees in the ceremony and addressed the mourners describing the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein (PBUH), as the symbol of fight against oppression.
Erdogan attended the ceremony this year for the first time since his AK party came to power in 2002.
Erdogan, who is a follower of the Hanafi school of the Sunni branch of Islam, delivered a speech at the ceremony, in which he discussed the importance of unity between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
“We have been feeling the pain of Karbala for 1,370 years. We have to feel that pain in our hearts. We remember (Imam) Hussein (AS) whenever an innocent person is killed,” the Turkish prime minister said as he began his speech.
“This country is ours, these lands are all ours, this history, this civilization is ours. Nobody can claim superiority to any other. We are equal to each other and we are all brothers in these lands. We are all first-class citizens of this country. The problems of all religious groups in my country are mine. That’s why we are struggling to address century-old problems through consensus. Aren’t there those who oppose us? Of course, there are. But we will overcome this with patience,” Erdogan added.
Erdogan’s participation in Ashura ceremony is a sign of Islamic unity
Addressing the Ashura mourners in Istanbul, Velayati described Erdogan’s participation in the ceremony as an extremely significant symbol of Islamic unity.
He also pointed to Turkey’s role in defending Islamic values and foiling plots against Muslim countries.
Ashura symbolizes unity among Muslims, justice, devotion, and the struggle against oppression, Velayati added.
He said that Imam Hussein’s uprising was aimed at reviving Islam and teaching Muslims to rise against bullying powers. Velayati also called on all Muslims to stand for the rights of Palestinians. He said that Muslim countries were obliged to defend the Palestinian nation in the asymmetrical war against Israel.
Velayati noted that the Gaza siege was a clear sign of Israel’s tyranny against Muslims and the people of Gaza, adding that the teachings of Imam Hussein (PBUH) tasked Muslims to extend assistance to the Palestinian nation. He also highlighted Turkey’s status in defending Islamic values and confronting conspiracies against Muslim countries.