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Ministry of Hajj asks militants to refrain from attacking Muharram processions

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs requested the Taliban insurgents and other anti-government elements to refrain from attacking the mourning ceremonies during Muharram.

In interaction with journalists, Faiz Mohammad Osmani asked the armed groups to remain calm on the Ashura day and do not pose threat to the innocent mourners.

A few days ago, Kabul Police Chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi said that insurgents were trying to attack the mourning ceremonies during Muharram in order to create differences among Afghans.

However, he assured of foolproof security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident in the capital city. Security officials said that they have chalked out comprehensive security plan to ensure tight security in the city.

The minister of religious affairs said that targeting worship places and killing innocent people is against Islam and human rights.

“Violence is not the option to resolve the problems. We always called on the Taliban to join the government through peace talks. We ask them once again that violence and extremism is not the way to achieve targets. Therefore, the culture of political dialogue shall be adopted and promoted,” he said.

The day of Ashura is marked by Muslims as a whole, but for Shia Muslims it is a major religious commemoration.

Shia men and women dressed in black also parade through the streets slapping their chests and chanting. Some men flagellate themselves with chains.

The minister of Hajj said that flagellating with knife is forbidden and the Shia committee asked the mourners to donate blood for injured security forces.

Shia and Sunni religious scholars and the ministry asked the mourners to observe the public order, cooperate with police and donate blood instead of whipping themselves with knife, Osmani said.

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