Baghdad: Shia Muslims in Iraq and Lebanon celebrated Yom-e-Ashura on Tuesday. The Yaum-e-Ashura, celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Muharram of the Islamic calendar, commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, which took place in the seventh century. It is believed that Hussein was martyred during the battle in Karbala in South Baghdad in 680 AD, so a large number of Shia Muslims gather in Karbala and mourn at Yom-e-Ashura.
The people of the Shia community see Hussain and his descendants as the real heirs of the Prophet. His killing at the hands of a rival Muslim faction has been a symbol of the rift between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam. Public rituals at Ashura have often led to sectarian tensions in Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan, where the two main sects of Islam live in large numbers. Security forces in Iraq are on a vigil to avoid any violent incidents as some Sunni extremist groups, who consider Shiites to be heretics, have been targeting Shia community members on the occasion for the past several years.