As the short lived empire of the Islamic State continues to crumble in the Middle East, millions of Muslims have taken part in a march against the group.
20 million Shia Muslims took part in one of the biggest marches on record in celebration of the life of one of the most famous Muslim martyrs of all time, Imam Hussein, reports The Independent.
The walk, which the majority of people completed on foot, leads marchers incredibly close to ISIS controlled territories and as a result countless attacks have been made on the pilgrimage.
The march’s route led those who took part to the ancient city of Karbala, 62 miles south west of Baghdad, over the course of Sunday and Monday for the holy day of Arbaeen.
The holy day signifies the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the brutal and bloody religious festival which marks the death of Imam Hussein in 680 AD.
Somewhat symbolically Imam Hussein was killed alongside his half brother for refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazeed’s Umayyad caliphate.
Similarly, the marchers of 2016 have refused to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate and have demonstrated their protest by marching through Iraq in gargantuan numbers.
As if that wasn’t scary enough, the Islamic State have declared Shia Muslims as apostates and have barbarically targeted them countless times in the very recent past.
Despite the pilgrimage being one of the biggest in the world year in year out it remains somewhat unknown through the majority of the western world.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.