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Middle East/Asia: Shi’a Muslims to celebrate Ashura Sep. 29-Oct. 1

Shi’a Muslims to celebrate Ashura September 29-October 1; increased security presence expected

27 sept. 16h05 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 27/9/2017, 12h00 until 3/10/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Damascus). COUNTRY/REGION Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh


Ashura, the tenth day of the month of Muharram on the Islamic calendar and one of the most holy days in Shi'a Islam, is set to take place between Friday, September 29, and Sunday, October 1 (depending on the sighting of the moon), throughout Shi'a communities in Asia and the Middle East. Business closures and transportation disruptions are possible, especially in Shi'a neighborhoods and communities.

The threat of terrorism and violence against Shi'a Muslims remains elevated during Ashura, especially from Sunni extremist groups including the Islamic State (IS). As such, an increased security presence around celebrations is likely.


Ashura is commemorated by Shi'a Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Large public gatherings are common during Ashura, sometimes featuring self-flagellation and lamentations.


Individuals are advised to exercise caution during Ashura celebrations in Shi'a communities. Individuals in the region should be particularly respectful regarding local customs and beliefs during this sensitive period in Shi'a Islam.

Due to the prevailing terrorist threat in the region, individuals should remain vigilant and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Always be on guard when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.).

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