Shias celebrate Sayeda Zeinab’s birthday in Cairo for the first time

Leaders of Egypt's Shia community celebrated the birthday of Sayeda Zeinab on Monday morning, marking the first time they have been permitted to publicly celebrate the event in Cairo.

Participants said they set up a platform outside the police station next to Sayeda Zeinab mosque. They raised the Egyptian flag and also a banner carrying the logo of the Supreme Council of Ahl al-Bayt, an Egyptian organization representing Shias.

Shia leader and President of the Supreme Council of Ahl al-Bayt in Egypt, Mohamed Dareeny said, "This is our first celebration following the fall of the regime during the 25 January revolution."

Dareeny told Al-Masry Al-Youm that, "Our last official celebration, the celebration of Sayedna al-Hussain’s birthday, was five years ago. However, the State Security [Investigations Service] arrested us, even though we had permission from the Tourism Ministry."

"During our celebrations, in the midst of the Sufi order celebrations, we focused on politically and socially educating the simple visitors of Sayeda Zainab," Dareeny explained. "We emphasized the need for trying Mubarak and regime icons, removing 10,000 leaders of the [now defunct] National Democratic Party from political life, dissolving local councils, and replacing them with public committees, as well as teaching the concepts of citizenship and the civil state."

Dareeny said the celebrations would continue until early Tuesday morning, to coincide with the end of Sufi holidays.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Supreme Council of Ahl al-Bayt, Taher al-Hashemy, said Shia celebrations in Egypt are no different from those of Sunni Muslims. He denied the existence of any special rituals in their celebrations.

He added that the Shias freely practice their rituals following the fall of the regime, which was hostile to Shias. He added that previously, the Shias could not practice their religion without fear of being persecuted by the State Security apparatus.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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