Oh, but not to worry, lets celebrate diversity!
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Ashura, the most important day in the Shi’ite calendar, guarded by a heavy police and army presence three days after a suicide bomber killed 35 pilgrims outside a Baghdad shrine. Shi’ites in Iraq gathered in their thousands to observe an annual ritual of mourning on Wednesday.
… in the Middle East. Worshippers bleed as they perform self-flagellation to mark the Ashura festival in Manama. Some use swords …
… in order to mourn and remember the seven-century martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein …
The 10-day-long event includes a bloody ritual of flagellation…
… cutting scalps with kinves…
… or swords …
This boy performs ‘tabrir’ the cutting the forehead.
… even a one-year-old Lebanese boy, wearing a headband with the name of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Hussein, joins adults in a self-flagellation ritual.
|Shiite Muslim men beat themselves with chains and blades during a Muslim ritual that is part of Ashura celebrations. Shiites in their hundreds of thousands crowded the streets…Â Picture: AFP|
At processions of thousands at Baghdad’s Kadhamiya shrine and at other holy sites in Iraq to mourn the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, men sobbed, cut their scalps with daggers and whipped their backs with chains.
The ritual took place under unprecedented security after Sunday’s attack, with thousands of police and military out.
A road leading to a golden domed Mosque at the north Baghdad shrine, scene of the bloody bomb attack on Sunday, was again spattered with blood — but this time it streamed from pilgrims cutting gashes in their heads: a traditional rite of mourning.
Thousands chanted “Haider, Haider“ another name for Imam Ali, Imam Hussein’s father, to commemorate the slaying of his son in the 7th century battle of Kerbala.
Groups of men, some riding horses, dressed up in medieval military outfits with spiked helmets and chainmail to re-enact the battle between followers of Hussein and his enemy Yazid. Others waved green and red flags. Women wailed.
Huge vats of stew steamed over wood fires on the roadside and a canal was died red to symbolise Hussein’s blood.
In a bid to tighten security, authorities had forbidden women from entering the entire district of Kadhimiya surrounding the Baghdad shrine, because it is hard for the mostly male police force to search them, but on Wednesday the ban was lifted. A gun attack on pilgrims in another part of Baghdad late on Tuesday underscored the tough challenge of securing such festivals. Gunmen fired on a procession of Shi’ite pilgrims in southeastern Baghdad’s Zaafaraniya district, wounding four.
Ashura is the most important and dramatic annual rite distinguishing Shi’ite Muslims from Sunnis and it has become a show of strength for Iraq’s long-repressed majority sect.
“In Saddam’s time, we were cut off from our history, our culture. Now that’s changed. Now we can know our heritage,“ said Jasim Mohammed, an engineer.
Sunni militants have frequently staged attacks on pilgrims, beginning with coordinated suicide bombings in Baghdad and Kerbala during the first post-Saddam Ashura in 2004 that killed more than 160 people and heralded the sectarian bloodshed that ravaged the country in 2006 and 2007.
But like Baghdad, the southern holy city of Kerbala was calm on Wednesday, thanks partly to some 20,000 security forces manning checkpoints with bomb detectors and banning cars.
Local officials estimated 1.5 million people marched through the city, about 50,000 of them pilgrims from Shi’ite Iran. Men flailed themselves with chains and adults helped young children, some as young as three, whip their backs with little chains.
Arabs and Turkmen in the volatile northern city of Kirkuk also held a march, under watch of Iraqi military helicopters.
“Until now, there has been no security breach,“ said police commander Brigadier-General Adel Zain al-Abideen.
Many pilgrims said they felt safe in Iraq, now that the government had stamped its authority on formerly lawless places.
“It’s different from the year before because the government is getting stronger. When the government is strong, terrorism will stop,“ said Sadeq Jaffer, a construction worker in Baghdad.
All that follows from Atlas Shrugs
And of course they are using Ashura to gin up Islamic Jew hatred
Our friends the SAUDIS: Muslims hold knives during the Shi’ite Ashura religious festival in Qatif
PAKISTAN: A Muslim performs self-flagellation during the religious Ashura procession in Karachi January 8, 2009. Ashura falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the pro moe (propeller beanie be upon him).
INDIA: Muslims beat their chests with small blades during an Ashura procession in New Delhi, India
IRAN: Children attend an Ashura religious festival near the city of Ardabil, northwest of Tehran
TURKEY: A Muslim girl stands near her mother during an Ashura procession in Istanbul
IRAQ: A baby boy during a reenactment of the death of Imam Hussein in the holy city Karbala
IRAN: Iranian man re-enacts a scene from the 7th century battle of Kerbala during the Ashura religious festival in Ardabil,
LEBANON: Ashoura day held by Hezbollah, in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon
MUSLIM CHILD ABUSE: Lebanese Muslim young girl, cries as a man cuts her forehead with a razor – no happy meals for this little girl.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Muslims flagellate themselves with knives during the Ashura procession in Kabul
BAHRAIN: Bahraini men rhythmically beating their chests in mourning lead a horse at the head of a Shiite religious procession over symbolic Israeli and American flags.
Islamic Jew hatred: The shadow of a Bahraini mourner flagellating himself with a chain whip is seen Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, in Muharraq, Bahrain, as he passes a blood-splattered Israeli flag drawn on the pavement for Muslim participants to walk on.
ASHURA: Lebanese Hezbollah supporters gather to listen to the speech of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah during Ashoura day.
Muslim woman, holds her daughter wears a head band with Arabic words read:’Oh, Zeinab,’ (Zeinab is the sister of Imam Hussein) reacts as she listens to the death story of Imam Hussein.Â Yeah right, that’s why this slave woman is crying.
The annual ashura festival of ……….. whatever the West is calling this quaint practice these days. All the above images were taken yesterday, January 7th.
Previous AtlasÂ Ashura coverage here (check out last year’s Ashura festival on Park Avenue, NY and inÂ Queens)
Pakistan’s Shiites observe Ashura under tight security AFP via Yahoo! NewS
Photos: Ashura Mourning Ceremonies in various parts of Iran Payvand Iran New
Will update when the photos from Ashura in Western countries come in.