Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat was invited to support the Shias at the Haslar Detention Centre to commemorate the solemn days of Muharram 1432 A.H. (December 2010) leading to the solemn day of Ashura. The Haslar Immigration Removal Centre holds those detained by the UK's Borders Agency while their eligibility to remain in the UK is considered.
This was an opportunity to not only share the message of Imam Husayn a.s. but to live it by being with those who are in dire need and are in struggling circumstances. Whilst the programme was being held it was learnt that one of the detainees, a participant in the Azadari who had appealed, was successful and a positive outcome had emerged.He was discharged from the Centre.
More than 6 youths of the community teamed up with our Resident Alim Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo to participate in the Azadari over a three-day period. The programme consisted of recitation of Holy Quran, duas, marthiyas followed by matam after majlis and culminating with the performance of amals on the day of Ashura.
One of the youths said, “I found this experience unique because we were being with those who were isolated. Imagine being in that surrounding and recalling the message of Imam Husayn being shared brought tears to my eyes.”
Vicky Baker, the Governor of Haslar Detention Centre said “I was delighted, and very grateful, that you and members of your community were able to once again spend time with our Shia Muslim detainees to support them in commemorating the solemn month of Muharram and the Day of Ashura”. She went on to say “Your visit was greatly appreciated by our detainees; to know that they are recognized and valued by friends in the community helps reduce their feelings of isolation”.
At the end of the programme our Resident Alim Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo commented,” When we saw young detainees wanting to hold on to the Thaqalay –Quran and the Ahlulbayt - despite being isolated from the rest of the Shia community, was heart warming. May Allah SWT accept this small gesture of spreading the word of the Ahlulbayt. I was delighted to see our youths sparing time to join me in this project. This was indeed a unique deed of not only performing azadari, but responding to aid of distressed Shia muminin during this solemn month of Muharram. ”