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Iranian Police Arrest Pilgrims For Self-mutilation

Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:51 pm

I really find this hard to stomach::::

Iranian police arrest pilgrims for self-mutilation20/01/2008 - 16:54:01

Police in Iran detained a large number of mourners today for mutilating themselves with knives, the official IRNA news agency has reported.

The incident occurred during the ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the death of one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures.

Every year, millions of Iranian Shiites pour into streets for Ashoura, marking the 7th Century death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Hussein and many flagellate themselves in memory of his suffering.

Some Shiites take it to the extreme of self mutilation to show their deep piety but the practice is considered illegal by religious authorities.

"These people were disturbing the public order," said police spokesman Colonel Alinaqi Alavi, in central city of Isfahan, according to the agency.

"They were using daggers as well as slashing their shoulders with spiked chains."

Alavi did not say how many people were detained, but local papers put the number at around 90.

During the ceremony, mourners will march and strike their heads with daggers for hours to create a swelling which they eventually pierce with their knife so it bleeds.

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