Shrine bombings

(NYT) Blast Destroys Golden Dome of Sacred Shiite Shrine in Iraq:

The shrine housed the tombs of two revered leaders of Shiite Islam and symbolized the place where the Imam Mahdi, a mythical, messianic figure, disappeared from this earth. Believers in the imam say he will return when the apocalypse is near, to cleanse the world of its evils.

Does this sound like anyone we know? The NYT’s straight-faced approach to this ‘mythical figure’ made me smile.