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Pakistan Catholics help Muharram mourners

Youth group shows solidarity with Shia minority by providing medical assistance, refreshments at key festival

Pakistan Catholics help Muharram mourners

Pakistani Christian youth group pose for a photo during Muharram in Sahiwal, in this file photo. (Photo supplied) 

October 3, 2017

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A Pakistani Catholic youth group in Punjab province has organized refreshments and medical services for minority Shia Muslims taking part in processions at the weekend marking the seventh-century killing of Muhammad's grandson.

Hussain bin Ali, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, along with 71 relatives and companions were massacred at the battle of Karbala on Oct. 10 680CE in Kufa (Present day Iraq).

As Shias across country set out on processions for the holy month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, Active Youth, a Catholic group belonging to the Sacred Heart church in Sahiwal, set up a Sabeel (a traditional stall providing refreshments) outside the church on Sept. 30.  

"This is the first time we have helped Shia mourners. We wanted to give a positive gesture," Ashiknaz Khokhar youth leader told ucanews.com.

He and a team of six youths also offered first aid for those injured during the Shia festival. Priests and nuns usually visit Shia leaders to express solidarity as the community typically suffers sectarian violence during these commemorations.

Security was high across Pakistan as thousands of police, paramilitary forces and army troops were deployed in cities on procession routes.

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