Ninewa delegation in Karbala to meet religious clerics

KARBALA / A large delegation from Ninewa province on Tuesday will arrive in Karbala to meet with the top religious figure in the city. “The delegation will arrive on Tuesday evening in Karbala city to meet local residents and to visit the holy shrines,” a local official from Karbala city, Moslim Abbas, told news agency. “The delegation includes Arab, Kurdish and Shabak chieftains, Sunni, Muslim and Christian figures and academicians,” the source noted, adding that the visit is the first of its kind to the city. Karbala, with an estimated population of 572,300 people in 2003, is the capital of the province and is considered to be one of Shiite Muslims’ holiest cities. The city, 110 km south of Baghdad, is one of Iraq’s wealthiest, profiting both from religious visitors and agricultural produce, especially dates. It is made up of two districts, “Old Karbala,” the religious centre, and “New Karbala,” the residential district containing Islamic schools and government buildings. At the centre of the old city is Masjid al-Hussein, the tomb of Hussein Ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad by his daughter Fatima al-Zahraa and Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. Imam Hussein’s tomb is a place of pilgrimage for many Shiite Muslims, especially on the anniversary of the battle, the Day of Ashuraa. Many elderly pilgrims travel there to await death, as they believe the tomb to be one of the gates to paradise. On April 14, 2007, a car bomb exploded about 600 ft (200 m) from the shrine, killing 47 and wounding over 150. SS (S) 1


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