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Iraq's Shia Muslims Converge on Karbala

Huge crowds of Iraqi Shiite Muslims converge in Karbala, Iraq. They are making a pilgrimage for one of Shiite Islam's holiest celebrations -- one banned for decades by Saddam Hussein. Some Shiite leaders hope pilgrims will demonstrate against the United States. NPR's Steve Inskeep reports, and NPR's Melissa Block talks to Mahmoud M. Ayoub, professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion at Temple University.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.