Afghanistan's Shi'a Brace For More Attacks On Ashura Holiday

Members of Afghanistan’s Shi’ite minority are bracing for potential violence as they prepare to commemorate Ashura, the holiest celebration in their religious calendar.

A series of deadly attacks on the country’s Shi’ite community in recent weeks has fueled fears of more violence during the September 20 festival marking the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Shi’a are estimated to number around 3 million in overwhelmingly Sunni Afghanistan, and the majority belong to the Hazara ethnic group.

The authorities said they had security plans for the Ashura celebrations, which were targeted in the past, amid criticism they were failing to protect Shi’a.

Aref Rahmani, an ethnic Hazara representative in the lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, told RFE/RL that his community will act on their own to protect itself if the government does not provide security.

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