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Muharram procession in Umm Qasr, Iraq
Pictures I took of a procession for Muharram in Umm Qasr, Iraq in Feb. 2004.
Early in Islam there was a split and the followers of Mohammads grandson Husein became the Shiites while the mainstream were called Sunnis. Husein and his forces were wiped out in Karbala Iraq in the 700's. To commemorate this Shiites march through the streets with the men whipping themselves rythmically and the women crying to feel the pain of his death. Saddam was a Sunni and banned the processions so now in the "free" Iraq there are processions in almost all cities with Shiites. The main mourning period is for 10 days and culminated (March 2) with huge marches where people cut themselves with swords etc. Two million were in Karbala and huge marches were held elsewhere. Suicide attacks in Karbala and Baghdad killed 300.