QOM, IRAN:  TO GO WITH AFP FEATURE STORY IRAN-RELIGION-IMAM Iranians walk in the courtyard of the Jamkaran mosque as a religious Shiite banner reading "O Mahdi" flies in the mosque outside the religious city of Qom 120 kms south of Tehran, 08 September 2006. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian Shiites thronged the gigantic compound of the Jamkaran mosque outside Iran's clerical centre of Qom to present their request to the twelfth imam Mahdi, who Shiites believe has disappeared from earth to return at a later date to save humankind. Seemingly unperturbed by the blistering afternoon heat, entire families spread carpets on the ground and produced picnics to await prayer time or the moment when they too would pass a message down to Mahdi. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI  (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)