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
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
* 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.
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
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.