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Iraq. Najaf. A mullah walks by a group of women waiting near the house of the young shiite leader Moktada Al Sadr. Two pictures are taped on the wall. The first on the left is of the shiite spritual leader Mohammed Al Sadr, killed by the Saddam Hussein regime. The second on the right is of Moktada Al Sadr who is the son of Mohammed Al Sadr. The women wear the abaya and the hijab on their heads to cover their hair. The abaya, sometimes also called aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world. Traditional abaya are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. The word hijab (or hidjab) refers to both the veil covering the head and traditionally worn by muslim women (Islamic headscarf), but also the  modest muslim styles of dress in general. The mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is the name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders. 26.02.04 © 2004 Didier Ruef .