The trouble at the mosque in Sydney is believed to have been Sunni Wahabi Muslims threatening Shia Muslims. Shia Muslims are currently commemorating the festival of Ashura, during the month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar when they mourn the death of Mohammed's grandson Hussein Ali at the battle of Karbala. This was part of the warfare which took place amongst Mohammed's family and followers after his death to determine who would have power to rule after him and was how Islam split in to the Sunni and Shia observance. The Shi'ites formed from the remains of Hussein's cadre.
Elsewhere in the world this weekend: -
Saana Yemen; (Reuters) ♦ At least three Shi'ite Muslims were killed on Saturday in a bomb attack targeting the first public commemoration of the anniversary of the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad in the Yemeni capital in half a century. . . A statement issued by the Houthis, a Shi'ite armed group based in northern Yemen, said the attackers also sprayed the crowd with gunfire and fled.
Pakistan: Dozens of reports tell of how all Pakistan is on high alert during the month of Muharrham. This particular report of an attack is from the BBC. ♦ At least four people were killed and dozens more wounded when a bomb exploded near a Shia Muslim procession in north-west Pakistan. It was the second bombing in the city of Dera Ismail Khan in as many days. The Taliban said it was responsible.
On Saturday, eight people died, seven of them children, when a roadside bomb went off close to another procession. The bomb on Sunday went off in a shop close to a street market as worshippers passed by, witnesses said.
As with the previous attack, children were among the dead
Cairo Egypt: from Ahram on line. ♦ Egypt's police barred a number of Muslim Shias from entering Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo to celebrate Satruday the holiday of Ashura. The decision to ban Shias from Al-Hussein Mosque reportedly came after a number Salafist Youth and a number of Sunni movements filed a complaint requesting that Shias be blocked from entering the mosque Saturday.
Meanwhile, Al-Azhar issued a statement warning against staging any celebrations in the mosque, saying that Ashura would only be celebrated through fasting and praying, adding that Egypt and Sunnis refuse any form of "heresy that will only cause sectarian conflict."
Kabul: From the Express Tribune. ♦ Afghan police said Friday they had arrested two suicide bombers planning to attack Shia Muslims in Kabul on the anniversary of the massacre of 80 worshippers on Ashura last year.
“Two suicide bombers with four suicide vests were arrested by Afghan police forces in Surobi district” east of Kabul, the interior ministry’s criminal investigation chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told AFP. “They wanted to attack crowded parts of the Ashura procession in Kabul city, and they have confessed to their crimes.” Rahimi said the two men were members of the Taliban group leading a bloody insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai,
But later on at the University. From The Dawn. ♦ An Afghan student was killed and eight others wounded in clashes between Sunnis and Shias at Kabul University, a senior police officer said Saturday.
“It seems the clash between some Sunni and Shia students erupted when Shia students wanted to perform the Ashura mourning ceremony in a dormitory mosque,” said Mohammad Zaher, head of Kabul’s Criminal Investigation Department. “One person was killed and eight were injured,”
Lebanon: From the BBC again. ♦Five Syrians possessing explosives have been arrested in Lebanon, the Lebanese army has said. The army said the Syrian nationals were arrested during a raid on a home in the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where 450g (1lb) of explosives were found.
There is speculation that those arrested may have been targeting Lebanese Shia Muslims. A procession is due to take place in Nabatiyeh on Sunday to mark the Shia festival of Ashoura.
Iraq: These were last weekend during preparations for Ashura. Again from the BBC. ♦ At least 17 people have been killed and dozens wounded in bombings across Iraq, on the eve of the Islamic new year and the holy month of Muharram. Six car bombs and roadside devices exploded in the capital, Baghdad, and four other cities, the AFP news agency cited officials as saying. In the deadliest attack, at least three bombs went off simultaneously in Kirkuk, killing at least five people.
Muharram is sometimes called 'the bloody month'. Whether from the way Shi'ites commemorate it by flagellating themselves with whips and chains (link here, but warning graphic content) and letting blood from their children, or how Sunni commemorate by killing the Shi'ites I don't know. But it's not the peace of God as I know it.