File Photo: Egyptian Shias pray outside of the al-Hussein mosque to mark the festival of Ashoura, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (Photo: AP)
The historic mosque of Al-Hussein will be closed during Ashoura to prevent the propagation of heresy, according to an official statement from the ministry of religious endowments.
The mosque will remain closed between Thursday and Saturday.
The statement claims that the closure is also meant to prevent “Shia rituals that don’t belong to Islam.”
Ashoura, the 10th day of the Islamic calendar, commemorates the 7th century Battle of Karbala, Iraq when Al-Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the son of the Prophet’s cousin Ali, was killed.
The ministry added that it will take necessary legal procedures against any violators of its decision.
The ministry of religious endowments, which administers mosque affairs, bans construction of Shia mosques and all Shia religious rituals.
Meanwhile, ultraconservative Sunni Salafist groups have consistently opposed the administering of any Shia commemoration at Al-Hussein Mosque.
This is not the first time Egypt has closed the mosque ahead of the Islamic Ashoura festival.
In November 2013, the ministry closed the shrine at the heart of Al-Hussein Mosque to visitors to avert possible clashes between Salafists and Shias during the Ashoura commemorations.