Hyderabad: Protests were organised in different parts of the world by members of the Shia Muslim community to mark the 100th year anniversary of the destruction of the shrines and tombs of prophet Muhammad’s family in Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Shiites around the world mourn and protest on Shawwal 8 every year to strongly condemn the “disrespect towards the family of the Prophet” and demand the immediate construction of this cemetery from the current government of Saudi Arabia.
Shia Muslims, followers of the lineage of Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali and daughter Fatima, across the world protest on this day to voice their demand to rebuild the graves and tombs destroyed by the House of Saud and the followers of Wahabbism on Shawwal 8 (11th month of the Islamic calendar), 1345 AH.
The Islamic calendar is currently in its 1444th year Anno Hegirae (AH), or ‘Year of the Hijrah’ or after Hijrah.
Protests were organised in Hyderabad, India, and Washington DC, USA to mark Inhedam-e-Jannat-Al-Baqi or the Destruction of al-Baqi.
‘Rebuild Al-Baqi’ protests in Hyderabad, India
Members of the Shia Muslim community organised a protest at Dharna Chow, Indira Park on Friday,
The protest was organised by Jannat-ul-Baqee Organization, led by its president Mir Sohail Ali. Prominent scholars and speakers of the community including Kamran Haider, Asghar Effendi, and Hanan Razvi delivered speeches and voiced their demands.
The protesters held banners and raised slogans condemning the demolition of Al-Baqi, where the daughter and grandsons of the prophet were laid to rest.
‘Rebuild Baqi’ protest in the United States:
Shiites in Washington DC also held a protest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC on Friday. Scholars of the Muslim community attempted to submit a memorandum over their demands to the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Reema bint Bandar Al Saud.
However, despite protocols in place allowing such memorandums, it was turned down by the embassy officials.
Muslim scholar Saiyed Mehboob Mehdi Abedi Al Najafi concluding the protest pledged that the community from this day onwards will work towards rebuilding the “holy tombs at Al-Baqi”.
A freshman in high school, Zaina Khan, at the demonstration stated “This is not a Shia issue, this is not a Sunni issue; this is a humanatiarian rights issue. They (Saudi monarchy), are the biggest threat to humanitarian rights, Shia rights.”
Amid showers in the city, demonstrators have travelled from Illinois, Atlanta, Texas, Wisconsin, and beyond to commemorate the day.
Here are visuals from the protest:
Saudi, Iran ties
With improving ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran the community is hopeful for the reconstruction of the tombs.
When Saudi Arabia and Iran buried the hatchet in Beijing, it was a game-changing moment both for a Middle East shaped by their decades-old rivalry, and for China’s growing influence in the oil-rich region.
Iran and Saudi Arabia reached a deal in March to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions in the two countries within two months.
In a meeting held in Beijing on April 6, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud signed a joint statement, announcing the resumption of diplomatic relations with immediate effect.
Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 in response to the attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran after the kingdom executed a Shia cleric.