Millions Gather in Iraq’s Karbala to Mourn Ashura
Millions of Shia Muslims pack Iraq’s holy city of Karbala to mark Ashura to mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) grandson, Imam Hussein (AS), Al-Alam News Network reports.
At mosques and shrines across Iraq, millions of Shia, Iraqis and foreigners, commemorated the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein at the battle of Karbala in 680 AD, an event that defines Shi’ism.
Loudspeakers blared Ashura chants across the city of Karbala, 80 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad on Saturday (October 24), where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims dressed in black gathered outside the golden-domed Imam Hussein (AS) shrine.
Huge crowds of pilgrims, most wearing black shirts and head-dresses packed inside the Imam al-Hussein shrine praying fervently, beating their breasts and wailing for the loss of their martyr, while hundreds of thousands more coursed through the streets outside, waving green flags representing Islam and red flags for the blood of Hussein.
The streets outside thronged with thousands more.
The ceremonies concluded with the masses running from an area called Twerej 20 km east to Karbala towards the city of Karbala and specifically towards a spot called the camp (Al-Mukaiyam). The so-called Twerej Run marks the end of Ashura rituals.
Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, placed strict limits on the traditional pilgrimage to Kerbala, but since his overthrow in 2003 Ashura has become a show of strength for Iraq’s Shia majority and a prime target of Sunni Islamist insurgents.
The gatherings of millions for the Ashura religious commemoration passed without violence on Saturday under tight security imposed for fear of ISIS attacks.