Zionists Waiting To Kill Hidden Imam, Says Iranian Cleric
By Golnaz Esfandiari,
Mojtaba Zolnour, deputy representative of Iran's supreme leader
in the Revolutionary Guard, has said that "Zionists" are waiting for the Hidden
Imam to appear to kill him.
Mojtaba Zolnour (file photo)
Hojatoleslam Zolnour made the
comments earlier this week at Qom University.
He was quoted as saying that "Zionists" have security plans for Muslim
pilgrimage sites including Mecca, Karbala, and other sites where he said it was
likely that the Hidden Imam could appear. The Hidden Imam or the Promised Mahdi
is the 12th imam of Shi'ite Islam, who Muslims believe will appear to bring
peace and justice on Earth and put an end to tyranny.
"They've told their soldiers to kill immediately whomever they see with the
characteristics [of the Hidden Imam] and not even take the risk to arrest him
because he is a very awesome and dangerous person," Zolnour said.
Last December, Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of
all it could to prevent the return of Imam Mahdi.
"We have documented proof that they [U.S. leaders] believe that a descendant of
the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts [the Middle East] and he will dry
the roots of all injustice in the world. They have devised all these plans to
prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation
is the one that will prepare the ground for his coming and will be the
supporters of his rule," he said.
Ahmadinejad did not say what documents he had to prove his claim, nor did
Zolnour, who said that all the characteristics that were given about the Hidden
Imam in the Koran and Hadith had been "extracted" by the "Zionists," who have
given them to their "soldiers in Iraq."
Since the coming to power of Ahmadinejad, who appears to believe that the return
of the Promised Mahdi is imminent, the emphasis on the absent Imam has increased
in the Islamic republic, leading to criticism by some over what they see as the
promotion of superstitious beliefs by Iranian officials.
Iran's former top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani,
was quoted as saying in 2008 that superstition was growing
in the Islamic republic and that people were even putting out food for the Mahdi
in case he returned that very night.
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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