In memory of Imam Hussain

Shias hold funeral march in Bonn’s Altstadt

Martialischer Ritus: Schiiten schlagen sich beim Trauermarsch auf den nackten Oberkörper.

At the funeral march, Shias beat themselves on their naked upper bodies.

Bonn. Lamentations and chest beating: the Shia community made its way along Maxstraße again on Sunday in memory of Imam Hussain.

The Qamar Bani Hashim Shia community regularly marks the anniversary of the death of their martyr, Hussain, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, with a funeral march. The participants, dressed in black –mainly with Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi and Iranian roots – began with prayers and lamentations while sitting on the ground.

Later they walked several metres along Maxstraße singing and rhythmically beating themselves on their naked chests. In Bonn, the law forbids additional self-inflicted injuries as an expression of mourning - in Iraq sharp blades are even used. The visible scars on the backs of some participants suggest they have experienced this.

The procession took place without incident, apart from the brief closure of Maxstraße. A few years ago, the self-flagellation led to discussions and consternation. Imam Hussain is considered a central figure in Shia Islam and was killed 1400 years ago in the battle of Karbala. The faithful commemorate him with processions in spring and autumn.

(Original text: general-anzeiger-bonn.de. Translation: kc)