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Iraq. Najaf. A group of Iraqi pilgrims (men, women and children) pray near the entrance to the mosque, Holy Shrine of Imam Ali. They celebrate the religious commemoration of Muharram which is a month of remembrance that is often considered synonymous with the event of Ashura. Ashura, which literally means the "Tenth" in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram. It is well-known because of historical significance and mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad. Shi'a Muslims start the mourning from the 1st night of Muharram and continue for two months and eight days. However the last days are the most important since these were the days where Hussein and his family and followers were killed in the Battle of Karbala which took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 of the Islamic calendar (October 10, 680). Muharam's month is considerated as one of the most important feast for the Shiism branch of Islam. Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam.The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. 26.02.04 © 2004 Didier Ruef