Shia Muslims mark religious festival of Ashura with prayers and self-flagellation (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Devotees mourned Imam Hussein for the festival, which falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
While Ashura is marked by all Muslims through prayer and voluntary fasting, the festival is vital for the Shia sect of Islam where devotees reenact the martyrdom of Hussein by participating in parades.
The event, which is due to culminate on Wednesday, is commemorated by Muslim communities across the Middle East including Iran, South Asia, and also across the West.
In the British city of Manchester, crowds of Shia Muslims banged their chests outside the mosque during a ceremony for Ashura, while devotees in Athens and Bahrain used sharp objects to self-flagellate.
Imam Hussein was killed by the army of the Caliph Yazid during the Battle of Karbala, in modern day Iraq. After his death, Islam divided into two main sects – Sunnis and Shias.
Shias make up around 15 percent of the population of the Muslim population across the world.
Self-flagellation has been criticized by some Muslim leaders who have said the graphic scenes portray the event in a negative light.