A man has been arrested in Iran for posting a video of himself online in clerical garb and claiming to be the twelfth Shiite Imam.
The man published the video on Sunday, announcing that he was “the Lord of the Ages, the Promised Mahdi, and the one who endures with Allah”: all names for the mythical “hidden” Imam who, in Shiite doctrine, will one day re-emerge to restore peace and justice on Earth.
The young cleric also said that he had already announced his appearance in mosques and hosseiniyehs in Iran, but that nobody had pledged allegiance to him so far. The video was met with mostly humorous responses online before Iranian media reported the arrest of “a cleric who claimed to be Imam Zaman”.
Several citizens in Iran have been arrested and sent to prison in the past after declaring themselves the last Shiite imam. As recently as April 6 this year, the police chief in the city of Khomein, Markazi province, announced the arrest of a 40-year-old man claiming to be Imam Zaman.
On June 16 last year, another man claiming to be the twelfth Imam was arrested in Isfahan with the intervention of a special police unit after approaching a military headquarters with a sword. He chanted “Death to Khamenei” on being arrested.