Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Falih al-Fayyadh stressed that despite all challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Hashd al-Sha’abi has managed to provide security for Arba’een processions.
Hashd al-Sha’abi forces are involved in many security and support programs to safeguard the rituals, al-Forat news agency quoted Fayyadh as saying.
Arba’een marks the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia imam, along with 72 of his companions in the Battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 AD after fighting courageously for justice against the much larger army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I.
Each year, Millions of Muslim mourners set off on a symbolic 80-kilometer walk that begins from Najaf, where Imam Hossein’s father Imam Ali (AS) is buried, to the holy city of Karbala, where Imam Hussein's shrine is located.
Accommodating the pilgrims along the road, as well as in both Najaf and Karbala, are thousands of make-shift tents, also known as mawkibs, that provide a wide range of services from votive food to medical care.
This year, however, foreign pilgrims have been barred from visiting Iraq due to the coronavirus outbreak and the Arba’een march will be held with the participation of local Iraqis only.