Ashura in Afghanistan

The Washington Post’s PostGlobal has just begun another video reporting project called “Islam’s Advance,” a (curiously named?) effort meant “to challenge our perceptions of Islam as a monolithic and extremist creed, and to look for answers to some of the most important questions facing the world today: how is Islam adapting to the demands of the 21st century? What can the religion do to reform from within? And how do those tensions play themselves out in the lives of ordinary Muslims?”

The project is helmed by Jack Fairweather, who will travel in the Middle East and Central Asia as a reporter and videographer. His trip began at the end of January in Afghanistan. Here’s the first video dispatch, which captures the bloody Shiite ritual of Ashura, commemorating the death of Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein: