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Shiite Muslims throng Iraqi shrine city to mark Ashura

Shiite Muslims take part in the 'Tuwairij run' ritual as they mark the peak of Ashura, a 10-day mourning period commemorating the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein, in Iraq's holy city of Karbala, on August 9, 2022. (Sabah ARAR / AFP)
Shiite Muslims take part in the 'Tuwairij run' ritual as they mark the peak of Ashura, a 10-day mourning period commemorating the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein, in Iraq's holy city of Karbala, on August 9, 2022. (Sabah ARAR / AFP)

Hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims mark the festival of Ashura in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala, the burial place of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

The emotional event commemorates the 7th century battlefield martyrdom of Hussein, whom Shiites view as the rightful successor to the Prophet Mohammed, the issue at the heart of a schism with Sunni Islam.

To mourn his death in the year 680, Shiite worshipers wearing black cry and beat their chests in unison and some flagellate themselves with swords and knife-edged chains.

Shiites represent more than 10 percent of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, and Ashura is marked by millions of people from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran and Lebanon.

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