This is our archive of news items tagged Soldiers of Heaven / Supporters of Mahdi.

 memo You'll find articles about that subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Category: Soldiers of Heaven / Supporters of Mahdi

Iranian ‘cult’ of imam sparks controversy

Mahdi When President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad launched Iran’s first domestically built telecommunications satellite into space on Sunday, he did so in the name of the last true Shia imam, Mohammed al-Mahdi.

The launch coincided with the end of festivities in Iran to mark the birthday of the imam, one of the holiest figures in Shia Islam, who is believed to have gone into hiding in the year 941 and will return to bring peace and justice to the world.

But this year’s festivities have proved unusually controversial because of claims that the imam is being exploited for commercial and political purposes.

Iranian president backs messianic cult

The key to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline policies may not be hidden in his revolutionary past, or in any of the nuclear facilities dispersed across Iran, but in a small farming village near the holy city of Qom. Here, in what was until only a few years ago a shabby local mosque, Iran’s new radical Muslim leader has become the chief sponsor of a messianic cult whose massed followers pray each week for the end of the world as we know it. Since coming to power last year Mr Ahmadinejad has given a reported $US20 million ($26 million) and personal