Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected Western demands that he respond to a new proposal regarding the cessation of Iran’s nuclear efforts by the middle of this month.
Why that date? Why so long to look over a simple package of incentives and give either a negative or a positive reply? Finding the answers to these troubling questions may require America and Europe to come to terms with a reality Western liberalism has done its best to ignore – that Islam remains engaged in a clash of civilizations with the Judeo-Christian world.
You see, Ahmadinejad is a strong believer in the Shi’ite tradition of a 12th imam, the so-called “hidden” Imam Mahdi who Allah has miraculously kept alive since his disappearance in 874 AD. As the story goes, Imam Mahdi will return at a time of great global chaos, oppression and bloodshed and usher in an era of (Islamic) justice.
Ahmadinejad sees himself as Allah’s instrument to pave the way for Imam Mahdi, and constantly uses public appearances to urge his countrymen to prepare to back him in this task.
Rumor is, Imam Mahdi could be returning this August (or shortly thereafter), just around the time some military experts believe Iran will be ready to construct its first nuclear weapon. Go figure.
Ahmadinejad has made clear his confidence that he and other true believers can affect this apocalyptic timetable, and will use all means at his disposal to do so.
Also of note is that August 22 of this year corresponds with the Islamic date of Rajab 28, the day Saladin conquered and entered Jerusalem.
Taken in conjunction with Ahmadinejad’s stated desire to see Israel destroyed, it hardly seems a coincidence.
Will the coming months see Ahmadinejad attempt to bring about Imam Mahdi’s return by attacking Israel and generating the necessary regional and global chaos?
Perhaps the better question is, will the West start to take this man at his word in time to stop him?
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