- Title: Shi'ites in Iraq mark the beginning of Ashura with self-flagellation
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI SHI'ITE PARTICIPATING IN THE ASHURA FESTIVAL, ZAYED AZIZ, SAYING: "These are our traditions and rituals, for (Imam) Hussein. God willing, every year and as long as we live, we ask that our rituals bring peace upon Imam Hussein. I have been gashing for 11-12 years for Imam Hussein."
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 08:26
- Keywords: Ashura Gashing Iraq Kerbala Religion
- Location: BAGHDAD AND KERBALA, IRAQ
- City: BAGHDAD AND KERBALA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Middle East,Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002EQY53RB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Shi'ites marked the beginning of the religious festival of Ashura on Thursday (August 19) with rituals meant to express their grief for the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.
In Baghdad's Shi'ite neighbourhood of Sadr City, men gathered early morning to gash their heads with swords and pray to the sound of religious songs and the beating of drums.
Some volunteers were present to watch over participants, distributing tissues, biscuits and reminding of those losing a lot of blood to slow down.
In the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala, where large crowds are expected throughout the day, men entered the holy shrine of Imam Abbas and some performed self-flagellation amid crowds watching and screaming to express their sorrow.
Ashura falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram, this year on August 19, and commemorates the martyrdom in 680 AD of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali, one of the grandsons of the Prophet Mohammed, near Kerbala in what is now Iraq.
Shi'ites mark the festival with large public rituals, sometimes involving bloody self-flagellation or cutting to signify a link with the sufferings of Hussein, whose death symbolizes a wider struggle against oppression and tyranny.
(Production: Ahmed Saeed, Haider Kadhim, Thaier al-Sudani, Charlotte Bruneau)
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