Ashura: Athens

Project Description

    Although hundreds of thousands of Muslims currently live in Athens, there isn’t yet an official Mosque in the whole area of the Greek capital. Nevertheless, Muslims from different countries of the world (especially Afghanistan and Pakistan) run semi-illegal worship places, usually in basements.

   One of the most important religious festivals held in such kind of places is Asurah, which is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH. For 10 days devotees gather in order to pray and mourn, as Asurah is seen as a period of inactivity, sorrow and total disregard of worldly cares. At the end of each night devotees perform ritual self-flagellation, while the final day of Asurah they are cutting their bodies with knives or chains.