Shia Muslims around the world have begun celebrating Ashura, a religious festival to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
During the festival, Muslims observe voluntary fast or congregate at a Mosque for sorrowful, poetic recitations. The event also observes marches of mourners which are often accompanied by men publicly self-flagellating themselves with knives and chains. The Shi'a men believe that the bloody-flagellation is a way to empathise with Husayn 's sufferings.
Ashura is celebrated each year in the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, on the 10th of Muharram. The practice of flagellation is highly criticised and some scholars argue that this goes against the teachings of Islam.