PROCESSION: Muslims march in tribute to martyr

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MORE than 200 Peterborough Shia Muslims took part in a procession to pay tribute to an Islamic martyr.

MORE than 200 Peterborough Shia Muslims took part in a procession to pay tribute to an Islamic martyr.

The crowd walked from the Burton Street Mosque, in Boongate, to Cathedral Square, yesterday, where several Muslims spoke of the sacrifices made by Imam Hussain, who died 1,325 years ago.

The death of the grandson of the prophet Mohammed is key to the Shia religion, because he was murdered after refusing to give his allegiance to a ruling tyrant.

Raihama Hirji (24), from Westwood, Peterborough, said: "The sacrifices made by Imam Hussain are very important to Shia Muslims, because they hold many key messages that apply to life today.

"We also want to publicise the religion further to help people understand what we believe in.

"Imam Hussain was willing to sacrifice all that he had to protect the faith, and show the world that mankind should never submit to tyranny."

One of the speakers at the event was 19-year-old Fatima Manji, from Netherton, Peterborough, who explained to the gathered crowds why the headdress was so important to Muslim women.

Miss Hirji said: "This procession also highlights the life of Imam Hussain's sister, Lady Zainab, who stood up for her rights. The headdress that we wear is a symbol of this, and our right to choose to wear it.

"She declared that no matter what aggression and act of violation, the integrity of Islam could not be damaged, as it is based on truth.

"Lady Zainab changed the course of history. Her legacy is evident today, even in societies which may not even have heard her name, for she and her family lit the lamp that burns for freedom for all people.

"We want to get the message across that the headdress, which is a symbol of her struggle, is not a symbol of oppression of Muslim women, but something we wear with pride."