Shiites flock to Iraqi shrine city of Karbala / PHOTO

Millions of Shiites flooded the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala on Sunday for the peak of Ashoura rituals, which have been largely spared the deadly attacks that struck pilgrims in past years.

Shiites flock to Iraqi shrine city of Karbala / PHOTO

World Bulletin / News Desk

Millions of Shiites flooded the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala on Sunday for the peak of Ashoura rituals, which have been largely spared the deadly attacks that struck pilgrims in past years.

Throngs of pilgrims beat their chests and some used swords to make cuts on their heads as a sign of mourning for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in 680 AD by the armies of the caliph Yazid.

Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated. Hussein's body is buried in the holy city, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, and his death has become a formative event in Shiite Islam.

A man told black-clad pilgrims, many of them in tears, the story of the battle in which Hussein was killed, over loudspeakers near the shrine where he is buried.

Pilgrims later carried out a ritual run to the shrine, striking their heads in mourning and shouting: "We sacrifice for you, O Hussein."

Shiites make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They represent the majority populations in Iraq, Iran and Bahrain and form significant communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Last Mod: 26 Kasım 2012, 10:07
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