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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Boom.

From the Telegraph:
The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president's belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

One of the first acts of Mr Ahmadinejad's government was to donate about £10 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious come to drop messages to the Hidden Imam into a holy well.

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour - denied by the government but widely believed - is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a "contract" pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent it to Jamkaran.

Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.

This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.

Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.

The prospect of such a man obtaining nuclear weapons is worrying. The unspoken question is this: is Mr Ahmadinejad now tempting a clash with the West because he feels safe in the belief of the imminent return of the Hidden Imam? Worse, might he be trying to provoke chaos in the hope of hastening his reappearance?

Let Ahmadinejad answer that question:
Tehran, Iran, Jan. 12 – Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday evening that the Islamic Republic’s 1979 Islamic revolution was a great movement and a stepping stone to a final “great event” in the world.

Speaking to a crowd in the southern city of Roudan, Hormozgan province, Ahmadinejad said, “The Islamic Republic is the continuation of the path of the prophets which came to begin a great movement and the final occurrence”.

“The Islamic revolution was a great leap in leading the people and reaching the climax of history”, Ahmadinejad said.
Hat tip to Infidel Bloggers Alliance for the second quote.