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Shias observe annual Ashoura holiday

Iranian mourners beat themselves around burning tents, which

Iranian mourners beat themselves around burning tents, which represent tents of Imam Hussein and his family, during Ashoura rituals in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

The festival of Ashoura commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in Iraq in AD 680. Hussein, one of Shia Islam's most beloved saints, was killed by rivals cementing the split in Islam between Shias and Sunnis.

Pakistani Shia Muslims raise their hands as they
Photo Credit: AP

Pakistani Shia Muslims raise their hands as they chant religious slogans during Ashoura in Karachi, Pakistan. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Shia Lebanese, left, beat their heads with their
Photo Credit: AP

Shia Lebanese, left, beat their heads with their hands as they bleed from self-inflicted wounds during Ashoura celebrations in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud, as people
Photo Credit: AP

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud, as people watch, during Ashoura, to mark the death anniversary of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Islam's prophet Muhammad, at the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

An Iranian mourner covers her head with mud
Photo Credit: AP

An Iranian mourner covers her head with mud during Ashoura rituals in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud during Ashoura
Photo Credit: AP

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud during Ashoura rituals in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Iranian mourners chant slogans as they cover themselves
Photo Credit: AP

Iranian mourners chant slogans as they cover themselves with mud in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Covering their heads with mud, Iranian women attend
Photo Credit: AP

Covering their heads with mud, Iranian women attend Ashoura rituals in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Among men, an Iranian woman, center, beats her
Photo Credit: AP

Among men, an Iranian woman, center, beats her head, during Ashoura rituals, in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud during Ashoura,
Photo Credit: AP

Iranian mourners cover themselves with mud during Ashoura, in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Men help carry a mourner, during Ashoura rituals,
Photo Credit: AP

Men help carry a mourner, during Ashoura rituals, in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Iranian mourners beat themselves around burning tents, which
Photo Credit: AP

Iranian mourners beat themselves around burning tents, which represent tents of Imam Hussein and his family, during Ashoura rituals in the city of Bijar, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Shia Muslim worshippers light candles to mark the
Photo Credit: AP

Shia Muslim worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim festival of Ashoura, an important period of mourning for Shias near the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Shia Muslim worshippers light candles to mark the
Photo Credit: AP

Shia Muslim worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim festival of Ashoura, an important period of mourning for Shias near the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Shia worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim
Photo Credit: AP

Shia worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim festival of Ashoura, an important period of mourning for Shias near the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. (Nov. 25, 2012)

Shia worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim
Photo Credit: AP

Shia worshippers light candles to mark the Muslim festival of Ashoura, an important period of mourning for Shias, near the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. (Nov. 25, 2012)

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