The LA Times reports
Friday’s violence occurred as hundreds of thousands of worshipers across Iraq took part in Ashura rites commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Muhammad who was killed by the army of the Caliph Yazid on the plains of Karbala. Hussein’s death in 680 made permanent the schism between Shiites and Sunnis over the succession after Muhammad.
During a reenactment of Hussein’s slaying in Basra, the crowd turned on the actor who was performing the part of his killer and beat the man so badly that he returned with an assault rifle to exact revenge. At least one onlooker was killed in the crossfire when soldiers tried to subdue the man and his relatives, security officials said.
Why am I not surprised that religious nuts can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction? This would be Pythonesque if it weren’t tragic.