Iraq: Shiites mark Ashura with mourning processions

Published December 15th, 2010 - 15:22 GMT

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Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein.

Members of The Promised day brigade, the military wing of Sadr movement, march during a parade marking the second festival of the Islamic resistance in Baghdad impoverished district of Sadr City.
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Image 1 of 16: Members of The Promised day brigade, the military wing of Sadr movement, march during a parade marking the second festival of the Islamic resistance in Baghdad impoverished district of Sadr City.

Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein.

Shiite Muslim shiite women beat their chests in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim shiite women beat their chests in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.

Iraqi troops implement strict security measures on main roads in Baghdad.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi troops implement strict security measures on main roads in Baghdad.

Iraqi troops implement strict security measures on main roads in Baghdad,as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 at the end of ten days of mourning for in commemoration of the 7th century killing of Imam Hussein.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi troops implement strict security measures on main roads in Baghdad,as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 at the end of ten days of mourning for in commemoration of the 7th century killing of Imam Hussein.

Iraqi Shiite Muslims carry the coffins, of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi Shiite Muslims carry the coffins, of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura.

Iraqi Shiite Muslims carry the coffins of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi Shiite Muslims carry the coffins of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad.

Iraqi Shiite Muslim women grieve as they watch the funeral procession of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi Shiite Muslim women grieve as they watch the funeral procession of people killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy of pilgrims in the Ghazaliyah district of Baghdad as Shiite Muslims prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17.

An Iraqi vendor sharpens knives used for the ritual of self flagellation by Shiite Muslims during the 10 mourning period of Ashura in the shrine city of Karbala.
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Image 1 of 16: An Iraqi vendor sharpens knives used for the ritual of self flagellation by Shiite Muslims during the 10 mourning period of Ashura in the shrine city of Karbala.

Iraqi soldiers protect a Shiite Muslim Ashura procession in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq.
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Image 1 of 16: Iraqi soldiers protect a Shiite Muslim Ashura procession in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq.

Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains, as they entering Imam Hussein's tomb where He was buried, in the shrine city of Karbala.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim men flagellate themselves with chains, as they entering Imam Hussein's tomb where He was buried, in the shrine city of Karbala.

Shiite Muslim men beat their chests in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim men beat their chests in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq, as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.

Shiite Muslims act the story of Imam Hussein in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslims act the story of Imam Hussein in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala as believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala.

Shiite Muslim men and lads flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq.
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Image 1 of 16: Shiite Muslim men and lads flagellate themselves with chains in an Ashura ritual in the shrine city of Karbala in central Iraq.

Believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala, in the year A.D.
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Image 1 of 16: Believers prepare to mark the religious event of Ashura on December 17 in commemoration of ten days of mourning for Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed who was killed in the Battle of Karbala, in the year A.D.

The Day of Ashura is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram.

It is commemorated by Shiites Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam "Hussein ibn Ali", the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (October 2, 680 CE).

In some Shiite countries and regions such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Bahrain, the Commemoration of Imam Hussein has become a national holiday and most ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Even in predominantly Hindu country like India, Ashura (often called Moharram) is a public holiday. India is home to more than 40 to 55 million Shiites.

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