"If you don't believe in any religion and don't fear the day of resurrection, at least be free and noble in this world."
These are the words of Imam Hussain, whose martyrdom inspired a movement in the pursuit of justice and freedom regardless of race, religion or creed. With the rise of fascism and fear of the other, now more than ever community cohesion matters.
As millions gathered in Karbala, Iraq for Arbaeen to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who was killed by the Yazid army in 680 AD, The10thDay.com held their own procession in Manchester.
The10thDay.com organised a peace walk to pay tribute to Imam Hussain on Saturday 12th of November, under the Footsteps to Freedom campaign. Markedly members of the general public from all backgrounds attended the walk, all of whom were keen to learn more about him and his remarkable story.
The walk started from All Saints Park and was led by two white horses and a carriage. Inside the carriage was a coffin with Imam Hussain written on it. Over 200 white roses were given to the attendees with the above-mentioned quote written on them.
Mr Das Shyamanand from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness attended as a guest of honour. Mr Shyamanand said: "he felt very proud to be there and show solidarity with the Manchester community". All attendees were given refreshments and a meal at the end of the day, where everyone was in good spirits and very inquisitive about the story or Karbala.
At a time when racism is rising at an alarming rate, religion can be a unifying force when its values are applied universally. The far right and extremist groups such as ISIS are seeking to divide by playing on societal grievances. Growing alienation is fracturing communities and this is when hate prevails. However, there is hope when people come together and relationships are built on shared values.
The10thDay.com have put the well being of the community at the forefront of their charitable activities. Committed to tackling social injustice and working for the common good - a food drive feeding over 2000 people was organised in September. Recognising there was a problem with the number of people living below the poverty line, The10thDay.com responded. Neither religion nor race was taken into consideration. What mattered was humanity in times of hardship and social responsibility within a community.
Mr Faiz Hamdani, chairman of the organisation said:
"As the first of its kind in Manchester, the Arbaeen Manchester Peace Walk 2016 has brought communities one step closer to each other under the flagship of freedom and unity. I thank all the participants. Due to its success, we are already in talks for the second Arbaeen Manchester Peace Walk 2017. We want to see no social injustice within Manchester."