Ahmadinejad is known as a "twelver" shi'ite muslim, a mahdaviat. Its derived from the word mahdi, arabic for "rightly-guided one," a major figure in islamic eschatology. In his 2005 and 2006 UN addresses he concluded both speeches with the following prayer;
O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.
I'm to curious to know why Ahmadinejad choose to begin his speech at Columbia (with the prayer) rather than putting it at the end as he did in his UN addresses.
Why the west needs to take note of this evil man. To be a mahdaviat means you believe and are active in preparing for the return of the mahdi. If you recall, in 2005, Ahmadinejad was telling colleagues that the end of the world was just two or three years away, and that the way to hasten the coming of the mahdi was to annihilate Israel and the US. That was two years ago and most of us don't seem to realize how central Ahmadinejad's shiite islamic eschatology is to Iran's current foreign policy and that's why we're missing how dangerous this regime really is. When the mahdi arrives on earth, shi'ite scholars say he will appear in Mecca and Medina, and then Kufa Iraq.
If the end of days predicted by the nutter, two years ago, is now upon us why is the Iranian government trying so hard to develop nuclear power while sitting on a pool of oil? Won't allah and the mahdi take care of the needs of the people once he returns? Surely it couldn't be for nefarious reasons, right? Ahmadinejad and the clerics wouldn't use the need for nuclear power as a cover to make a bomb to bring about the chaos necessary for the mahdi to appear?
Scott Peterson has a great article in the Christian Science Monitor. Waiting For the Rapture details the beliefs held by Ahmadinejad and other muslims. The scary thing about this whole thing is we don't have to believe it, Ahmadinejad does and that's all that matters.