We’ve recently had a video of Shiite Muslims hacking their backs with swords on the Holy Day of Ashura posted on Best Gore, and here’s another one. This one was also filmed during the mourning of Ashura, a day which falls on the 10th day of Muharram – an important period of mourning in Shia Islam, and the first month of the Islamic calendar.
The practise of self flagellation with swords or whips is called Matam. It is done in remembrance of Imam Husayn and his suffering. While most Shia Muslims participate in Matam with just ceremonial chest beating, devotees in some South Asian countries, including Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iraq incorporate blades into the practise.
You can tell from the video that those who do participate in Matam with self flagellation have done it several times in the past. Their backs are visibly scarred. I have no problem with people who celebrate their religion in ways that do not harm others, regardless of how whacked out it may seem to the outsiders.