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Shiites mark Ashura with marches, chains and knives

GRAPHIC WARNING: This post contains graphic images which some viewers may find disturbing.

Mustafa Ozer / AFP - Getty Images

Turkish Shiite men take part in a religious procession held for Ashura in Istanbul on Dec. 5, 2011.

Mustafa Ozer / AFP - Getty Images

Turkish Shiites take part in a religious procession held for Ashura in Istanbul on Dec. 5, 2011. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

Mustafa Ozer / AFP - Getty Images

A veiled Turkish Shiite woman takes part in a religious procession held for Ashura in Istanbul on Dec.5, 2011. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated in the Battle of Karbala.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP - Getty Images

Iraqi Shiites use knives in a self-flagellation ritual in Baghdad on Dec.5, 2011 during Ashura commemorations marking the 7th century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the Battle of Karbala in central Iraq.