Festival of Ashura
Shi’ite Muslims at the al-Khoei Islamic Center in Queens prepare to flagellate themselves during a procession marking the festival of Ashura.
Ashura is a 10-day event marking the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson and revered saint, Iman Hussein, in Iraq 1,300 years ago.
Although condemned by many Muslims, the practice of self-flagellation among the Shi’ite during the Ashura is meant to express the pain Muslims felt on the day of Iman’s death.
The practice of self-flagellation is commonly done with long chains tipped with sharp blades, which are used on a person’s back….
… but some will also strike themselves in the head.