Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tens of thousands of Shiites converge on Baghdad shrine to honor saint

Above and Left: Scenes from today's pilgrimage.

Tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims converged on a golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad on Thursday, some beating their heads and chests with their hands and others dancing in a circle to honor an eighth century saint known for his ability to hide his anger.

The procession took place under tight security with guards checking each pilgrim as they reached the green iron gates of the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim mosque and a citywide driving ban in effect until early Saturday to prevent suicide car bombings...

The ceremony honoring the anniversary of al-Kadhim's death is not one of the most important in the Shiite faith, but it has gained significance in Iraq because they were banned under Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime.

Imam Moussa ibn Jaafar al-Kadhim, who died in the year 799, was the seventh of 12 principal Shiite saints, known for his patience and his ability to suppress his anger. The mosque was built atop what were believed to be the tombs of al-Kadhim and his grandson.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

Related Link:
Baghdad under 3-day curfew for religious festival