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IRAQ-SHIITES/
RTS1JCSG
November 10, 2017
Chanting and flailing themselves in mourning for Imam Hussein, hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslims...
Kerbala, Iraq
The Wider Image: Iraq's Kerbala transformed for sacred Shi'ite ritual
Chanting and flailing themselves in mourning for Imam Hussein, hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslims from around the world gather in the Iraqi city of Kerbala for one of the most sacred rituals in their religious calendar. Arbain marks the culmination of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in a 7th century battle in Kerbala. Shi'ites believe his remains are entombed there. Exhausted pilgrims, including women carrying their children, marched long distances to reach the shrines. Many, arriving by air from Iran, Pakistan or Bahrain, had landed in Baghdad several days earlier. Kerbala, 80 km south of the capital, was cloaked in black because of the robes worn by pilgrims, and bedecked in a sea of flags. Groups of people build camps where they cook, share food with others, and display decorative objects. Banners featuring Imam HusseinÕs words are put up on walls and buildings. The ritual is a time for sorrow and self-reflection. Mourning Shi'ites listen to recollections of how Hussein and his family were killed. The theme of martyrdom dominates, as pilgrims gash their foreheads with swords and beat themselves with chains. Hussein's death is interpreted by Shi'ites as a symbol of the struggle against injustice and oppression. Tents have been set up in Kerbala to provide a resting place for pilgrims, where men serve them cups of free tea. Others offer free massages to those arriving on foot from different cities, while tailors work on religious flags at a market. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-deen SEARCH "IRAQ SHIITES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Matching text: IRAQ-SHIITES/
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