Sunday, November 29, 2015

Millions of Shia Muslims heading to Karbala for Arba’een

Millions of Shia Muslims from across the world are taking part in a march toward Iraq’s holy shrine city of Karbala to attend mourning rituals on Arba’een, which marks 40 days after the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The pilgrims show their commitment to the Shia imam by walking tens of miles barefoot. Pictures coming out of Iraq show mourners clad in black, walking toward Karbala, which lies 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital, Baghdad, to commemorate Arba’een, which in Arabic means forty and falls on December 3 this year.
The event attracts millions of Shia Muslims from Iran. Iran’s Police Second-in-Command Brigadier General Eskandar Mo’meni announced on Saturday that some 1.2 million Iranians have so entered Iraq on foot to attend the annual mourning rite.

A member of the Iraqi security forces stands guard as Shia Muslim pilgrims walk on a road in Baghdad’s Dora district on their way to the holy city of Karbala to take part in Arba’een mourning rituals, Iraq, November 27, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi forces have tightened security to protect pilgrims against possible terrorist attacks ahead of the mourning rituals.
Last year, Iraqi officials announced that the number of pilgrims attending the mourning rituals of Arba’een reached 17.5 million in Karbala. The number of Arba’een pilgrims reportedly hit 20 million in 2013.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists began their campaign of terror in the country in June 2014. Army soldiers and Popular Mobilization units have joined forces and are seeking to take back militant-held regions in joint operations.
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