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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
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.

A Lebanese Shi'a Muslim man slashes the head of a three-year old boy with a razor.
This Lebanese boy's head is about to be cut to allow blood to flow.

A Shi'a Muslim woman holds her child with a cut forehead d
Barbers sometimes make the cut in children. The knife this mother is holding was not used, but is symbolic.

Hezbollah militants in Beirut
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
The leaders of Hezbollah display their emotions during recitations about the Martyrdom of Hussein

Amal movement members
Young Lebanese from the pro-Syrian Amal movement beat their heads.

Lebanese Shi'a boys
These boys wait to wash as the ceremony draws to a close.

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

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See also:

06 May 98 | Despatches
Shia Muslims day of mourning
08 Jan 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh Muslim festival ends
05 Mar 01 | UK
Muslim festival disrupted
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