May 25, 2006
Iran's Ahmadinejad is not UnhingedBy Amil Imani
The world is captivated by the sudden rise of a relatively unknown to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for his torrent of outrageous statements and claims. He has, thus, in a short time acquired great many appellations. He is viewed as zealot, fascist, fanatic, anti—Semitic, lunatic and more.
One prominent Western journalist called him 'unhinged.' All these labels aim, in part, to dismiss the man as an aberration. As someone who is in urgent need of psychological help, a person out of touch with reality who represents nothing of substance.
Once again the West is misreading and misjudging the people and the events in the Middle East, due to the fact that it views things through its own culturally—filtered spectacles. Looking at the man through Western lenses, he indeed appears to be all of the above and more. Yet Ahmadinejad is far from unhinged.
As a matter of fact he is firmly hinged to a set of beliefs that dictate his view of the world and how he should deal with it from his position of power. An unhinged mind has the potential of being hinged. But, there is very little that can be done to a person who is irreparably hinged. A prominent feature of a mentally disturbed person is the display of contradictory thoughts and behavior. Ahmadinejad's words, deeds and beliefs show a person fastened to a dangerously consistent and faulty hinge.
Ahmadinejad's views are firmly rooted in the most orthodox philosophy of Shiism. To understand his mind set and behavior requires a close scrutiny of the elaborate and intricate theology of Hujetieh Shiism — perhaps the most fundamentalist of numerous Shiite sects. There is a full internal consistency in Ahmadinejad. Below are a few examples of his sayings, beliefs and actions. Whether one agrees or disagrees with them, they all fit perfectly into a consistent pattern.
* He literally believes in the imminent emergence of the Mahdi — the Shiites' promised one who is expected to appear to set aright a decadent and wretched world.
* He views himself as the vassal of Mahdi, working for him and being accountable to him.
* His main task is to prepare the world so to hasten the Mahdi's coming. If this preparation requires much destruction and bloodshed, so be it.
* As a former mayor of Tehran, he developed elaborate detailed plans preparing the city for the arrival of the Mahdi.
* He allocated generous sums for extensive road improvement to a mosque at Jamkaaraan near the city of Qum where it is believed the promised Mahdi is hiding in a well since the age of nine some 1100 years ago.
* He reportedly visits the well frequently and drops his written supplications into the well for the hidden Mahdi to act upon them.
* He reportedly has said in private that it was him who asked the Mahdi to inflict the massive stroke on Ariel Sharon.
* He sees the Jews as the sworn enemies of Islam. The hostility dates back to the time of Muhammad's own treatment of the Jews in Medina. At first, expediently, Muhammad called the Jews 'people of the book,' and accorded them a measure of tolerance until he gained enough power to unleash his devastating wrath on them.
* He says that the Holocaust is a myth. He is, in this respect, in good company with a number of other claimants.
* He wants Israel to be wiped out of the map or transferred to Europe.
* In his speech at the UN general assembly, he implored the Mahdi to come and save the world. He claimed that during his speech of some twenty odd minutes, a powerful light enveloped him and all participants were held transfixed unable to move their eyes.
* He believes that the earth is Allah's and all people must either become believers of his brand of Islam or must perish as infidels who by their very own presence defile Allah's earth.
* He believes that this earthly life is passing and worthless in comparison to the afterlife awaiting a devoted and faithful believer. Hence, he holds to the old belief that if a faithful kills and infidel, he goes to Allah's paradise; and, if the faithful gets killed in the process of serving the faith, again he goes to Allah's paradise. Hence, it is a win—win proposition for the faithful.
There is nothing 'unhinged' about Ahamadinejad's thinking, statements and actions within the cultural and religious framework from which he comes. They are internally consistent. He is simply a fanatic who is wedded to an extremely dangerous exclusionary system of belief.
Humanity must remember, or tragically re—learn, that dismissing a fanatic as lunatic or unhinged rather than squarely facing the likes of Ahmadinejad and Hitler will result in great suffering. But in the age of Weapons of Mass Destruction a man with huge sums of petrodollars potentially can serve as the catalyst of total annihilation.
It would be by far more prudent to err on the side of being an alarmist than a complacent dismissive. Humanity cannot afford to ignore the emergence of the final thereat to its very existence on this planet.
Islam is not a religion of peace. 'Islam' is derived from the root word, 'Taslim,' which means 'submission,' or 'surrender.' Submission or surrender to whom? To Allah,'s will through the dictates of his one and only emissary Muhammad as recorded in the Quran and the Hadith.
The Arabic word for peace is 'solh,' and not 'Islam.' It is amusing how Western apologists of Islam from the ranks of liberals and expedient politicians keep on parroting the slogan that Islam is religion of peace. When they are challenged to explain the horrific violence perpetrated under the banner of Islam, their lame response is that the religion of peace is hijacked by a small minority of religious zealots.
These liberals and politicians seem to prefer being politically correct to being truthful. Even a cursory glance of history, recorded by authoritative Muslim historians, conclusively reveals that Islam was a creed of cruel violence from its very inception. Being intolerant, violent and warring characterize Muhammad's own life and his teaching.
Being unpredictable, self—contradictory and inconsistent are major symptoms of the mentally unhinged. By these standards of insanity, Ahmadinejad emerges as complete sane. He is fully predictable, consistent and has shown no self—contradiction. He does not even pretend that he misspoke or apologize for his outrageous statements. He is not a typical politician who practices the art of doublespeak, deception and change of position to suit him. He knows who he is, what he believes, what he holds as veritable truth and what his own mission in life is — serving as the instrument for the revered Mahdi whom Allah shall make emerge from the well as soon as the world's conditions hit absolute hopeless bottom. Ahmadinejad sees himself as a driver who can play a critical role in doing just that — driving the world to the very bottom.
'Sanity' has a major cultural dimension to it. Behaviors considered sane by one group may be viewed as completely insane by another. Exorcism, for instance, is believed as the cure for the mentally—possessed by its practitioners. The medical community, on the other hand, considers the practice itself as a form of mental derangement.
Rationality is not the sole ruler and gatekeeper of the mind. Emotions, fantasies and other components of the mind can cloud, fool and even over—rule rationality. Furthermore, starting with a set of premises, a most outlandish conclusion rationally can be reached. If one assumes that the all—powerful Mahdi resides in the bottom of the well, then petitioning him for all manner of things is fully a rational thing to do. It is the least effortful way of aiming to secure all kinds of valuables by simply dropping a list into the well. There can be no harm in it, so the person reasons. Who knows? The Mahdi may be in a mood for granting his requests — or at least some of them.
Tragically, Ahmadinejad is not a single solitary unhinged inane man. He is the embodiment of several million people who are hinged exactly like him, and who are willing to give their lives, and take as many others' lives with them as required in the service of their belief.
Ahamadinejad and his ilk are not interested in any negotiation, any compromise or in any live—and—let—live solution. They are determined to be the soldiers of the Mahdi come—what—may. They have no problem with the total destruction of the world. They are headed for a life of eternal bliss in Allah's paradise. They hardly care, they even rejoice if the rest of humanity is subjected to a tragic death in the nuclear, biological and chemical wasteland of planet earth.
And Allah, repeatedly in the Quran, exhorts the faithful submissive, the Muslim, to maim, punish and kill the non—submissive — the non—Muslim — and promises him the reward of admission into paradise.