In Pictures: Ashura Celebrations

Shi’a Muslims have been taking part in the religious ceremony of Ashura which commemorates the death of the Imam Hussein at the battle of Kerbala in 680 AD.

The event marked the divide in Islam between Shi’as and the majority Sunnis.

Ashura is the peak of ten days of mourning during the Islamic month of Moharram.

In some Shi’a strongholds, men flagellate themselves in rituals in which they share the suffering of the Imam.

This Lebanese boy’s head is about to be cut to allow
blood to flow.
Barbers sometimes make the cut in children. The knife
this mother is holding was not used, but is symbolic.
Supporters of the Shi’a militant group Hezbollah gather
in Beirut.
The leaders of Hezbollah display their emotions during
recitations about the Martyrdom of Hussein Young
Lebanese from the pro-Syrian Amal movement beat
their heads.
Young Lebanese from the pro-Syrian Amal movement
beat their heads
These boys wait to wash as the ceremony draws to
a close.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, blue-clad women watch the
flagellation from a gallery of the minority community’s
main mosque
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