Dec. 19, 2006
Ahmadinejad: What would Jesus do today?
Iranian president in New Year's message to Christians: 'God willing, Jesus will return with Imam Mahdi and wipe away oppression'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a greeting to the world's Christians for the coming New Year, in which he has linked Christianity's deity, Jesus, with the Shiite messianic figure, Imam Mahdi, saying he expected both to return and "wipe away oppression."
"I wish all the Christians a very happy new year and I wish to ask them a question as well," the Iranian leader said, according to the Iranian Student News Agency .
"My one question from the Christians is: What would Jesus do if he were present in the world today? What would he do before some of the oppressive powers of the world who are in fact residing in Christian countries? Which powers would he revive and which of them would he destroy?" the Iranian president asked.
"If Jesus were present today, who would be facing him and who would be following him?" He added.
'Occupiers warned to evacuate Iraq'
Ahmadinejad then linked Jesus with Imam Mahdi, a Shiite leader believed by the Iranian president to have gone into hiding centuries ago, and who is expected by Shiite Muslims to return and usher in a period of messianic dominance for Islam.
"All I want to say is that the age of hardship, threat and spite will come to an end someday and God willing Jesus would return to the world along with the emergence of the descendant of the Islam's Holy Prophet, Imam Mahdi and wipe away every tinge of oppression, pain and agony from the face of the world," Ahmadinejad said.
The Iranian president also called on the United States and Britain to evacuate Iraq, saying, "We warn the occupiers that if they do not evacuate Iraq on their own accord, then the powerful hands of the Iraqi nation would do that and cast them out of this country in shame and humiliation."