It turns out that at least one of the Islamic world’s leading clerics has taken a similar point of view, but with two important differences:
- The Messiah he’s referring to is known as al-Mahdi, and is coming to make Shia Islam the world’s dominant faith;
- Muslims, at least those of the Shiite persuasion, should actively spread the coronavirus to hasten the coming of this “messiah.”
In a speech to the faithful last month, Iranian cleric Alireza Panahian said he had become convinced that COVID-19 marked the soon arrival of al-Mahdi, and that Muslims could and should help speed that event.
“The spread of diseases and epidemics such as the coronavirus is a prelude to the birth of Imam Mahdi,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Panahian as saying. “Spread the virus because it will accelerate the emergence of al-Mahdi.”
While Panahian’s clerical rating is not particularly high, he is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was made head of Iran’s “think tank for universities.” As such, he wields great influence not only religiously, but also in the academic sphere.
The terrorism against Israel and the world that Iran has long sponsored is primarily aimed as sowing the kind of chaos that will, in the eyes of Shiites, necessitate al-Mahdi’s coming. Under the sway of clerics like Panahian, it is not inconceivable that suicide bombings could largely give way to a far quieter form of biological warfare that will serve the same purpose.
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