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Statement: Ashura 1439 AH

The new Islamic year has begun. It is 1439 years since the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, emigrated with the beleaguered Muslims from Makkah, which was then a city of oppressors, to Medina, which was a safe haven. When we remember the Hijra, we must remember that Muslims fled from oppression.

The new year is not a happy occasion among Muslims. It is a time for remembrance, for mourning, for rejuvenating our commitment against oppression and oppressors (zalimun), and our devotion to Muhammad, Fatimah, Ali, Hassan and Hussain (alayhimu salam). It is the moment to remember the durood and what it stands for: we pray for blessings upon the Prophet and his aal, his family.

So, in Muharram 1439, we at the O Collective renew our commitment against oppression. We remind each other that what happened to Aal-e-Muhammad is happening still to their devotees, the Shi’a. There is still a genocide of Shi’a Muslims going on in Pakistan. The Hazaras of Balochistan are still being disappeared and murdered; Shi’i professionals are still being shot dead as they drive their children home from schools; discrimination against non-Sunnis is rife. Shi’i Muslims suffer and Shi’i Muslims persist—in the name of Hussain, Hassan, Ali, Fatima and Muhammad, upon whom be peace.

Muharram is for remembrance, for mourning and for renewal. It is not happy. We do not wish each other Happy New Year, and we find the rise in this habit problematic and disrespectful. We hope that fellow Muslims of all paths will be more attentive to the reality that we begin our year in thoughtfulness, solemnity, grief, mourning and renewal. Joy will come later, inshallah, when we see the fruits of our labour against injustice.

As O, we recognize that we fall back on a default Sunni Islam because that is the dominant path in Pakistan and because most of us are from Sunni families. So we ask you now, with humility: fellow Muslims from other paths, tell us what you need. Tell us how we may serve your needs better. Join us and lead us. Join us so we can all come to each other’s aid and help each other along the many paths to Allah.

Labayk Ya Hussain.