On Sunday the Washington, DC community of Shiite Muslims gathered in front of the White House for a demonstration that commemorated the death of Imam Husain and also served as protest against against ISIS.
Imam Hussain is an important figure in Shiite Islam theology, who fought against and died by the hand of Yazid. Yazid is regarded the tyrannical, oppressive leader of the Umayyad Dynasty. Those gathered drew parallels between Yazid of old and ISIS of today. Pamphlets distributed by organizers had lines such as, “Imam hussain and his companions were brutally murdered on the plains of Karbala because he stood for justice and opposed oppression, no matter the consequence. Today, we see the same misuse of Islam by groups that have no connection to religion.” I spoke with Kavra Viah who explains this idea,
“We all want justice, and we all to be away from somebody when we feel oppressed from somebody, and that’s what Imam Hussain fought for.”
Those at the protest sang songs, waved large flags, and distributed books and pamphlets on life and death of Imam Hussain. A family event, both the elderly and mothers pushing strollers appeared at protest. Several hundred from the DC muslim community were in attendance, with many tourists and onlookers passing by on Pennsylvania Avenue. The event concluded without incident.