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Friday, March 17, 2006

Muslim Pilgrims Face Attack in Iraq
Shia Muslim pilgrims on the road to the holy city of Kerbala faced a highway of bullets and bombs for intended for them on Friday, as reported on Yahoo News and elsewhere. Why do the pilgrims risk their lives to make this journey? What are the roots of these religious sojourns? And what is it like to make this pilgrimmage?

In 2004, following a 30-year moratorium during Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, Iraq's Shiite Muslim population were free to commemorate Ashura, the most important holy day on the Shiite calendar. Shia adherents from throughout the Mideast made the pilgrimage to Kerbala, Iraq's Holy City, to visit the tomb of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas. In THE ROAD TO KERBALA, filmmaker Katia Jarjoura joins the procession with Hamid el Mokhtar, a Shi'ite poet and novelist imprisoned during Saddam's regime.

SHI'ISM: WAITING FOR THE HIDDEN IMAM illuminates the historical roots of this branch of Islam with a blend of contemporary and historical footage, interviews with Muslim scholars, philosophers, writers, politicians and religious leaders in Iran, Lebanon and Iraq, and visits Shia holy sites, including the Tomb of Imam Hussein in Kerbala.

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