Bizarre Islam religious festival in India

Sufi Muslim holy men have been performing their difficult-to-watch acts of self-torture as part of the Urs Festival in India.

The holy men were photographed pushing spikes into their eyes, cutting their cheeks with knives and even stabbing themselves in the back with skewers.

While these actions were clearly performed for an audience who could be seen gawking and taking pictures, they are based on a religious tradition.

The six-day annual Urs festival sees thousands of followers of Sufi, often called a mystic branch of Islam, come together to mark the death of Moinuddin Chisti, who founded Sufi 800 years ago.

Sufi differs from most branches of Islam becuase its followers devote themselves to this one particular saint.

The holy men, who take part in the 75 miles march to a shire in Bhadiyad during the festival, will also self-flagellate and lead a night-long singing session with other worshippers.

Photo/Getty images
Photo/Getty images







Suspected Al shabaab kill 36 in fresh Mandera attacks

At least 36 quarry workers were Tuesday morning killed by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in an attack in Koromei area, Mandera County.

The workers were ambushed as at the site as they slept by gunmen believed to be the militants and killed by shooting.

Others were decapitated by the attackers. Other reports say the attackers kidnapped some of the workers. All the victims are non-Muslims.

Those who were Muslims were separated from Christians. Police confirmed the deaths and added they were yet to know the motive. The attack came hours after another group launched an attack on a club in Wajir that left one person dead and 13 wounded.

Last week, 28 people, mostly teachers were shot dead after the militants hijacked their bus in Mandera County.

Several youth arrested in Mombasa Swafaa mosque after forcing their way in for prayers

Tension is high in Kisauni area ahead of Friday prayers after police raided Masjid Swafaa mosque Thursday night and arrested several youth.

The youth had forced their way into the mosque which is one of three that had been closed to facilitate investigations over allegations of radicalisation.

Mombasa county commander Robert Kitur confirmed the incident and said police had to fire in the air and lob tear gas canisters at the youth who engaged them.

Kitur said the four mosques, Swafaa, Minah, Sakina and Shuhaada in which police have conducted operations will remain closed.

Kitur added that worshipers are advised to seek alternative places to hold their prayers until police clear the four mosques.