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al-Mahdi is "the rightly-guided one" who, according to Islamic Hadiths (traditions), will come before the end of time to make the entire world Muslim.  Over the last 1400 years numerous claimants to the mantle of the Mahdi have arisen in both Shi`i and Sunni circles.  Modern belief in the coming of the Mahdi has manifested most famously in the 1979 al-`Utaybi uprising of Sa`udi Arabia, and more recently in the ongoing Mahdist movements (some violent) in Iraq, as well as in the frequently-expressed public prayers of former Iranian President Ahmadinezhad bidding the Mahdi to return and, in the larger Sunni Islamic world, by claims that Usamah bin Ladin might be the (occulted) Mahdi.  Now in 2014 Mahdism is active in Syria, as the jihadist opposition group Jabhat al-Nusra claims to be fighting to prepare the way for his coming; and in the new "Islamic State/caliphate" spanning Syrian and Iraqi territory, as its leadership promotes the upcoming apocalyptic battle with the West at Dabiq, Syria.  This site will track such Mahdi-related movements, aspirations, propaganda and beliefs in both Sunni and Shi`i milieus, as well as other  Muslim eschatological yearnings.
For a primer on Mahdism, see my 2005 article, "What's Worse than Violent Jihadists?," at the History News Network:; for more in-depth info, see the links here to my other writings, including my book on Mahdism.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sorry, Imam Rauf: Athens and Jerusalem Have Nothing to Do with Mecca

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the "Ground Zero Mosque" imam, was in Edinburgh earlier this week telling (warning?) Scots that shari`ah is not only perfectly compatible with Anglo-American law and society--it's also unstoppable (echoing the Archdhimmi of Canterbury).  While Westerners bowing to the alleged inevitable Islamic convergence might reduce the number of petulant playground riots by Muslims who want their wives to wear hijabs on the rides, the truth of the matter is that not just Islamic law, but Islam itself, is incompatible on many levels with the Judaeo-Christian bases of our civilization--as I wrote about at length last fall, in "Veiling Shari`ah in Judaeo-Christian Cloak: Imam Ra'uf's and Muqtedar Khan's Latest Ruse."  And while I wrote a few years ago that Islam might be able to temporarily adjust to some sort of democratic system, the cold, hard historical fact is that whenever a majority-Muslim country has developed into any semblance of a democratic state, it has done so by borrowing such mechanisms from Western republics and democracies: the Turks and the Tunisians both drew heavily upon French constitutional theory and law, for example. And in the late 19th century, the rather clumsy Ottoman attempts to cobble together a constutitonal sultanate, based on British and French constitutional monarchies, foundered--partly because of the recalcitrance of Sultan (and Caliph) Abdülhamid II; but also, in no small measure, because Islam historically has lacked--at least to the degree that these inhered in Christian Europe (and its offshoot, America)--rationalism, a political sphere separate from the religious one (different renderings for God and for Caesar), separation of powers (which went back to ancient Sparta, believe it or not) and the Graeco-Roman-Christian idea of natural law (which, to the extent that this exists in Islam, seems largely derivative from Plato). No republics, nor democracies, have ever grown naturally out of Islamic soil.  They have always been transplanted from France or the U.K. (Nigeria, for example) or imposed (Iraq, Afghanistan)by  the U.S.  Modern "Islamic" republics or democracies are, unfortunately, either fatally flawed (Iran, with ayatollahs trumping majority rule), seriously reconsidering (Turkey) or terminally ill (Pakistan)--and this will remain the case until Qur'anic literalism, and its inevitable byproduct shari`ah, are consigned to the ash heap of history. 

To switch analogies, think of the American Republic as a a hardware system.  Based on a comparative study of the theology and political history of Western Christian and Islamic civilizations, it's clear that the only software that our type of democratic republic can run successfully is one written in Athens and updated in Jerusalem.  Contra Rauf's soothing taqiyah, the shari`ah code from Mecca is actually a virus that would crash our system, and indeed ultimately transform it into something unrecognizable--and thus unwelcome. 


Yes, that is Islam stabbing a Bible.  



12:55 pm edt          Comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

They Say They Want The Kingdom, but They Don't Want God In It

New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been (rightly, in my opinion) criticized for banning religious leaders--and, presumably, any religious content--from the upcoming tenth anniversary memorial service of the 9/11 attacks. Earlier today, on "America's Newsroom," Martha MacCallum interviewed Fox News Channel's religion expert, Father Jonathan Morris, on this issue--which raised these topics:

1)Two reasons come to mind for Bloomberg's attempt to scrub 9/11 of any religious content: his own personal distaste for overt piety, perhaps stemming from his Reform Judaism (or, as some Conservative and many Orthodox Jews call it: "Judaism Lite"); and the religious demographics of New York City.  If it's the former, perhaps Hizzoner should consider being a bit more open-minded and not imposing his own liberal-cum-secular ideology on such a momentous occasion.  Regarding the latter, the mayor might want to consider how religiously atypical Gotham is vis-a-vis the nation. The US as a whole is 76% Christian, 15% irreligious, 1.2% Jewish, 1.2% "new" religious movements and less than 1% each Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu. New York City, however, is 43% Christian, 13% Jewish, and 41% irreligious and/or non-reporting (as well as 37% foreign-born!).  Some uncorrobated sources put the number of Muslims in America's largest city at 600,000--which, if true, means 13% of the population there is Muslim, making that religion's population density about 20 times greater than for the country in toto.  New York City's being far less Christian and far more Muslim and atheist than the rest of the the USA goes some way to explain not only why Bloomberg feels justified in ignoring religion in general and Christianity in particular--but it also illuminates his puzzling devotion to the "Ground Zero mosque" and opposition to (or at least lack of support for) the rebuilding of St. Nicholas (Greek) Orthodox Church--which, unlike the proposed mosque, actually existed there before it was destroyed on 9/11. 


But Mayor Bloomberg would do well to remember that on September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists did not just attack his city--they attacked the USA and, as a matter of fact, Christendom (hence the continual references to us as "Crusaders").   So perhaps his own personal preferences, and even Gotham's demographics, might not be the best prism through which to view this ten-years-after observance. It's not simply, as MacCallum said, that "faith and prayer" helped so many get through 9/11 and its horrible aftermath--although that is undoubtedly true. It's that, like it or not, most Americans are religious, and the vast majority of them are Christian.  Why should a Christian presence thus be denied at such an important ceremony, marking the worst attack on our nation since Pearl Harbor? 

2) Reverend Morris, a Roman Catholic priest, is mocked by leftists as some sort of extreme, right-wing Christian shilling for FNC.  But if his statements about Islam are any indication he is, in point of fact, much closer in his views to the theological liberalism rampant in Christianity's largest branch since the Second Vatican Councill, 1962-65.  For example, he told MacCallum that since 9/11 was "an attack by pseudo-religious people" we now have an opportunity with the tenth anniversary memorial to "rectify that with real religion, representing peace..." [emphases added]. So Father Morris thinks that the mass-murdering suicide bombers who destroyed the World Trade Center towers (and their ikhwan, "brothers," who tried to do likewise to the Pentagon and the White House) in the name of an Islamic fatwa against us really weren't Muslims, but rather practitioners of a false religion which somehow misrepresented Islam.  "Real religion"--and so, presumably, "real" Islam--is peaceful; so says Father Morris. This sounds suspiciously like liberal Protestantism (and secularism), which view of Islam is to a large extent the one the Catholic hierarchy began channeling after Vatican II, as I pointed out in an article right before the election of Pope Benedict XVI--who, it must be admitted, has somewhat reversed Rome's creeping dhimmification and who, I suspect, would not exactly agree with the good Fox priest's theological whitewashing of Islam.

By the way: the blog title today comes from U2's "The Wanderer," lead vocals by Johnny Cash, on the album "Zooropa." 

2:05 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All I've Got Is A Photograph....

A few moments ago I received an email from the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeeya (which is the American branch of the followers of Ayatollah al-Sistani of Iraq), advising Muslims to pray for those affected by the earthquake in northern Virginia about three hours ago.  This reminded me that one of the signs of the coming of the Mahdi, according to Islamic hadiths (sayings allegedly going back to Muhammad), will be a proliferation of earthquakes (  This, in turn, led to a Google search of newy-devised images of the Mahdi (either the Sunni one or the Twelver Twelfth Imam)--a few of which I am posting below.

Here's your standard-issue (Twelver) Shi`i pious view:


This blatant "Lord of the Rings" rip-off is a nice change-of-pace:


This appears to be a Sunni Mahdist perspective, stating in Arabic "The Time of the Appearance:"


And, at the risk of poitical incorrectness, a skeptical Western (Christian?)illustration:




4:59 pm edt          Comments

Monday, August 22, 2011

Paint It Black

In early 2010 I proposed that the United States pursue a de-legitimization strategy of religious PSYOP aimed at Syria's Alawi regime, using as its starting point the anti-Alawi fatwas written some 700 years ago by the (in)f amous Sunni cleric Ibn Taymiyah:  

While no one in the US government seemed to listen--probably because, as Dr. Seb Gorka so eloquently pointed out in Congressional testimony recently, " religion has become a taboo ssue within national threat analysis" ( some in in the Islamic world did: about a week ago Kuwait Sunni clerics issued a fatwa castigating the Syrian government as "heretical" and calling upon Muslims to shun it and work for its downfall (  Yusuf al-Qaradhawi was the John Hancock signatory to this fatwa, it is worth pointing out.  

As of this juncture only the precis of the fatwa is available.  Those excerpts seem to indicate that the condemnations were more focused on the al-Assad regime's oppression, cruelty and violence against its own people than its quasi-Shi`i/syncretist nature; but the trope of "heresy" was trotted out, nonetheless.  Once I can get a copy of the fatwa in Arabic, I will be able to render a fuller analysis. 


11:57 am edt          Comments

Friday, August 19, 2011

Promoting the Mahdi at Lackland Air Force Base
Today I have an article running over at "Family Security Matters" about classes being presented on Islam by the Turkish Mahdist group Harun Yayha at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas (the U.S. Air Force's only basic training base):
10:05 am edt          Comments

Monday, August 8, 2011

Uneducated about Sects

Several weeks ago, during his Senate confirmation hearings for the Joint Chiefs Chairmanship, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey--formerly commander of the 1st Armored Division (in Iraq) and CENTCOM chief in 2008--admitted that when we invaded Iraq in 2003 the military brass had very little clue about the sectarian differences, and potential for violence, in that country. "It took American civilian and military leaders years to adapt and understand these dynamics," according to the General (  One might reasonably wonder whether the US military and intelligence community (not to mention the State Department) truly does, finally, realize the importance of sectarian differences in the Islamic world.  For example, the Syrian case pitting the pseudo-Shi`i Alawi rulers against the country's Sunni majority only recently came to Washington's attention; neither Libya's history of Sanusiyah Sufi jihad against occupation, nor Mua`amar al-Qadhafi's heretical Islamic teachings and rule, has been fully considered or acknowledged by the American government; and there are still commanders deploying to and from Afghanistan who seem blissfully ignorant of the fact that that country is 19% Shi`i (and that a substantial subset of that is not Twelver but Sevener, or Isma'ili, Shi`i).   I'm glad that General Dempsey 'fessed up to this blind spot, but we've yet to remove the logs of ignorance from military eyes. 

2:10 pm edt          Comments

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Jamkaran Mosque near Qom, Iran (during my trip there Aug. 2008)

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