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Photo journal: Karbala pilgrimage
Tomb of Imam Hussein

"We are inside the tomb of Hussein, the centre of Karbala. Mohsen is reading from the Koran," said Sharhbanoo. "This is for us one of the holiest places on earth."

Karbala is second only to Mecca in importance for Shia Muslims. Iraqi and Iranian Shias often begin their pilgrimage to Mecca in Karbala. Shia people sometimes bring the bones of the dead to be buried here.

Mohsen and Sharhbanoo have seven children, five girls and two boys. Mohsen is a technician at a hospital, while Sharhbanoo is a house keeper.

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