Millions of Shiites flock to Iraq to celebrate Ashura

Millions of Shiite Muslims marked the holy day of Ashura in the Iraqi city of Karbala Thursday, beating their heads and whipping their chests and backs with chains to commemorate the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein.

Shiites from all over the world including Lebanon, Iran, Bahrain, Pakistan and Tanzania brought their young sons to march down the streets in a pilgrimage to the city's shrine, traditionally held to be the tomb of Hussein, who died and was martyred in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

The battle was one in a series of conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites.

Many pilgrims carrying food and water walked for hundreds of kilometres to the city, following centuries-old rituals, in the hope that walking would earn them more rewards and blessings from God.

"A couple of days ago we arrived from Lebanon to celebrate Ashura in the holy city of Karbala," 45-year-old mother Om Moustafa said.

Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, Shiites have revived almost all of Ashura's religious rituals, which were banned under the former dictator.

Now they are permitted to walk to Karbala, slash their faces with knives and blades and perform scenes from the historical Battle of Karbala before the shrine.

"It is my first time to visit Karbala after the fall of Saddam Hussein. I wish I could visit all the shrines across Iraq. We used to visit it in the 70s, but the firm security measures imposed during Saddam Hussein's era stopped us from coming over," Om Moustafa said.

An atmosphere of grief and sorrow spread all over Karbala, when Shiites started preparing for the holy day on Wednesday night. Outdoors gathering areas were prepared and black banners raised in Karbala's districts and squares to mourn the Imam. Shiites were wearing mourning attire, cried and refrained from parties and weddings.

"I feel very committed to the commemoration, that's why I came among an Iranian group who arrived to Karbala to celebrate Ashura," Zeinab, a 55-year-old Iranian woman, said.

Authorities deployed more than 6,000 policemen atop high buildings and assigned about 22,000 soldiers to the entrances of Karbala ahead of the Ashura religious festival, to ensure the city's security during the celebration.

Karbala was the scene of deadly clashes during a religious ceremony last August between Shiite militias, in which about 50 people were killed and hundreds wounded. ( Dpa )

All Moscow’s residents to stay in home self-isolation from Monday
All Moscow’s residents to stay in home self-isolation from Monday
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Russia through its ports
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Russia through its ports
Russia's Rosneft stops operations in Venezuela
Russia's Rosneft stops operations in Venezuela
Loading Bars
Azerbaijani oil prices for March 23-27
Minister: No problems with supply of bread in Georgia
Export of fruits, nuts from Georgia up in January-February 2020
Turkey urges int’l organizations to boycott so-called "election" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
China helps Uzbekistan to fight coronavirus
Kazakhstan's biggest oil transporting company eyes buying locally-made equipment
Volume of cargo transshipment via Turkish Port of Mersin disclosed
Coronavirus cases increase in Georgia
Turkey’s state water administration opens tender to rent vehicles
Azerbaijan extends benefit terms for contributions to mandatory health insurance for non-oil sector employees
Iran talks production of equipment in its oil sector
Turkey's municipality attracts foreign insurers via tender
Turkish university opens tender to attract foreign IT companies
Turkmen company masters production of nonwoven fabric
Azerbaijan extends terms for use of mandatory health insurance
Pakistan's National Commission for Human Rights condemns so-called "parliamentary and presidential elections" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
SOCAR: No restrictions on fuel sale in Azerbaijan
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Zonguldak
South Korea to pay families hundreds of dollars to ease coronavirus impact
Iran's exports to African countries announced
Export volume of startup companies via Iran's Markazi Province announced
Iran announces its copper exports
Uzbekistan's total external debt increases
Georgia bans movement of buses in self-governing cities and administrative regions
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Samsun in January-February 2020
Analyst: Forecast for oil prices depends on coronavirus spread
Azerbaijan Insurers Association: insurance community must promptly prepare plan for transition to distant operation mode
Kazakhstan’s oil & gas company opens tender to buy pumps
Scientific sphere switches to digital mode in Turkmenistan
Passenger trains operating to Kazakhstan’s Atyrau to be suspended over coronavirus fears
Charter flight to bring Georgian citizen from Bulgaria
Next plenary meeting of spring session of Azerbaijani Parliament kicks off
Iran's exports through Golestan customs announced
Review of oil, gas operations in Azerbaijan in January-February 2020
Foreign investments in Iran's Fars province increase
Uzbekneftegaz contunues to increase gas production of Uzbekistan
Georgia increases import of wood, furniture from Turkey
Fatal work accident occurs along Balkan Stream route
COVID-19 cases reach 97 in Georgia
Turkmen state concern announces tender to purchase material and technical resources
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
No direct financial loss suffered from postponing of F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
US allocates funds to Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic
Iranian currency rates for March 30
Georgia confirms new case of coronavirus
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Internal Affairs lists facilities suspending work during quarantine
Tender to purchase material and technical resources opens in Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan sees increase in coronavirus cases
Iran's chemical, petrochemical industry increases production
More coronavirus cases detected in Kazakhstan
Production not to stop in Iran amid Coronavirus
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 24 times
MP: Massive donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus shows national solidarity
Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 57,298
Iranian government pays loan to damaged businesses
China unexpectedly cuts reverse repo rate by most in five years to support virus-hit economy
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Israeli PM Netanyahu’s aide tests positive for coronavirus
South Korea coronavirus cases rise steadily, more financial aid expected
Trump extends national social distancing guidelines to April 30
Vietnam PM asks major cities to prepare for lockdown to stop virus
Trudeau continues self-isolating after his wife's recovery from COVID-19
5.1-magnitude quake hits Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Egypt condemns Yemeni Houthis' missile attacks on Saudi cities
France reports 2,599 new coronavirus cases, 292 additional deaths
Turkey's COVID-19 cases rise to 9,217, death toll hits 131
All Moscow’s residents to stay in home self-isolation from Monday
Somali army kills 142 al-Shabab militants during operation
Syria reports 1st death case of COVID-19
Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy
EIA decreases previously forecast oil extraction volume in Kazakhstan for 2020
Brunei reports 6 new cases of COVID-19, 126 in total
Nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in UK
Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doubles
Spain’s coronavirus death toll rises by 838 overnight to 6,528
Saudi intercepts missiles in attacks claimed by Yemen's Houthis
Herbal medicine being tested for treatment of coronavirus in Iran
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Permanent representative: PACE leadership must change approach periodically demonstrated in relation to Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan's Atyrau to close for quarantine to battle coronavirus spread
Enterprises in Iran's industrial parks restore production
Azerbaijan confirms 27 more coronavirus cases
Expert: Impact of global shocks on Azerbaijan's economy and society is minimal
Azerbaijan's Central Bank attracts funds
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from France through its ports
Azerbaijan extends deadlines for paying taxes and filing declarations
Production of some Iranian industrial products decreases
Azerbaijani company to increase disinfectant production
Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mines & Trade announces volume of foreign investments
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Tekirdag announced
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Morocco through its ports
Management Union of Medical Territorial Units: Epidemiological situation in Azerbaijan under control
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Ukraine through its ports
Iran reveals volume of investments in employment loans
Coronavirus confirmed in one more Kazakh city
Support to Exports Guarantee Fund of Iran to continue
Exports via Bilasuvar customs of Iran increase
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Hopa announced
All news