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Photographer's Note

Those men, women and children are Turk Shiites observing the day of Ashura on
the tenth day of the Islamic year. Ashura is a major commemoration in Muslim tradition,
where believers mourn the death of Huseyin, the grandson of the Prophet of
Islam, Mohammed, at the Battle of Karbala. In the northern Sunni world of Turkey
(here in in İstanbul's Halkali district), Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, Ashura is a
fasting day. Some Shiites express their grief by inflicting pain on themselves, flogging
their backs with a ritual chain called “zanjeer”. Many perform ceremonial chest
beating as a display of their devotion to Huseyin. They also express mourning by
crying, as a popular Shia saying has it that “a single tear shed for Huseyin washes
away a hundred sins”.

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