Muharram mourners continue to face restrictions in Afghanistan

Preparations for Ashura celebrations in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. July 2022.

Video tapes circulating on social networks depict the Taliban using force to prevent religious ceremonies of Muharram mourners, further highlighting the restrictions imposed by the group on such events.

Sayyed Mohsen Hojjat, a prominent Shiite cleric, recently confirmed in a speech that some mourners were subjected to beatings by the Taliban. Despite this, Hojat urged the mourners to stand up against these limitations.

The authenticity of the images remains unconfirmed by Amu, but social media users have indicated that these visuals are from the seventh day of Muharram and are linked to Kabul.

Hossein Rastimanesh, a journalist, criticized the Taliban’s violent behavior towards mourners, asserting that such actions contradict the principles of patriotism, citizenship, and governance.

In a separate speech, Hojjat called on fellow Shia Muslims in Afghanistan not to blindly obey the government’s orders. He urged them to stand united against unjust restrictions.

“These silences today are due to the fear of losing the collection of assets that they have pledged to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The past also shows that, unfortunately, they have acted more on personal interests in politics,” said Maisham Ehsani, a political activist, pointing out the reluctance of some political leaders, especially Shia and Hazara leaders, to address the issue.

Social activist Mehdi Ehsaas expressed his disappointment, stating: “Abandoning a nation that they fed for a lifetime, riding on their pollen, now leaving this nation alone is a great punishment and injustice to this nation.”

Earlier, the Afghan Shiite Ulema Council confirmed the restrictions on Muharram ceremonies and mourners during a press conference. They called on the Taliban to immediately lift these restrictions.

The Taliban, while not officially addressing the matter, has unofficially linked security concerns to the restrictions.