Reporters on the Job

End-of-Timers: While reporting today's story about Shiite end-of-timers in Iran, staff writer Scott Peterson found that these believers have no shortage of tools when it comes to getting their message out. Thanks to a windfall from government coffers, they have hired techno-savvy professionals to harness modern communications and the Internet to broadcast the coming of the Mahdi (the reappearance of the 12th Imam, who is expected to bring justice, peace, and Islam to all mankind).

But Scott, who has visited Iran many times in the past decade, also found an especially persistent impulse by the groups in Jamkaran to proselytize, which is not common among most Shiites.

"Many of the interviews I had in Qom and at the Jamkaran Mosque about the Mahdaviat, were quickly turned toward my own religious beliefs," says Scott. When he was briefly picked up by officials in Jamkaran, they even quizzed Scott by reading from a questionnaire that covered basic biographical information as well as his personal beliefs.

"On different occasions, I was asked such questions as: 'Did I believe in the final battle between the forces of good and evil? Did I believe that Christ would return, or the Mahdi?" says Scott. "They really wanted to know where I stood on these issues."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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