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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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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boromir, Son of Denethor, Lord and Steward of Gondor, on the Muslim Brotherhood
10:58 pm edt          Comments

Misunderestimating the Muslim Brotherhood: Media Malfeasance at its Most Malignant

Last year, after the outbreak of the "Arab Spring" across North Africa (come to think of it--wouldn't that make it an "African Spring?"), the vast majority of media commentators and "analysts" regaled us with glowing (indeed, fawning) accounts of all those putative Tom Paines and assumed John Adamses tweeting from Tunis, Benghazi and Cairo who would, we were assured, soon usher in the long-expected Arab democracies which had so long stymied by secular dictators.  As for the Arab world's major Islamic political party, the transnational Muslim Brotherhood--well, those dapper chaps in their expensive suits with their advanced degrees were just the Ben Franklins of the ummah, content to stay aloof from elective office, especially in the most-populous Arab country, Egypt, and instead influence events from the sidelines--knowing that they were not really all that popular in the Arab street.

Here are some examples of such Pollyannish, indeed ignorant, thinking--from folks deemed "experts" by the media:

There is an "exaggerated fear that militant Islamists might fill a void left by an ousted President Hosni Mubarak"--Chris Harnisch, "al-Qaeda [sic] expert" and former VP Dick Cheney staffer; "Fears of a Muslim Brotherhood Takeover of Egypt are Overblown," "The Daily Caller," 1/31/2011

"I think it is very unlikely that there would be an Islamist president in Egypt....if you ask the Muslim Brotherhood their goal, they say it is not to establish and Islamic state but rather to function within a democratic system."--Michelle Dunne, Editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, quoted in a Voice of America interview, May 23, 2011

"[T]he argument that a transition to democracy in Egypt will lead to an Islamist takeover doesn't seem to hold much water"--Adam Serwer, "Poll: No Constituency for Muslim Brotherhood Takeover in Egypt," "The Washington Post," Feb. 10, 2011

"The Big Bad [Muslim] Brotherhood isn't much more popular in Egypt than it is on Fox News."--Max Fisher (Associate Editor, International Channel), "Chart of the Day: Muslim Brotherhood Deeply Unpopular in Egypt," July 26, 2011.

Thus endeth my examples--which are like shooting fish in a barrel. The mainly-liberal media overwhemingly relied (and still relies) on their own wishful thinking, and on "experts" sporting politically-correct blinders about Islamic religious and political history, rather than on folks who know what they're talking about--such as, yes, your humble blogger, who told "Studio A" (KFUO AM radio, St. Louis) on Feb. 14, 2011 that "I think if free and fair elections were held [in Egypt]...the Muslim Brotherhood would be the largest party;" that "the Muslim Brotherhood is too smart to say 'we want shari`ah tomorrow" but will, rather, introduce it slowly and incrementally; and that "the protests in Egypt are not so much pro-democracy as anti-'Pharaoh' (MB and Salafist ill--disguised code for any Egyptian secularist dictator, from Nasser to Sadat to Mubarak).  


These selections demonstrate not just sloppy, bordering on malfeasant, journalism and analysis but just how easy it is nowadays for the media to engage in what is rapidly becoming its favorite behavior: anti-anti-Islamism, akin to the old anti-anti-Communism of the Cold War.  Just as anti-Communist conservatives, from Joe McCarthy to Ronald Reagan, were ridiculed even when they were right (as both Tail-Gunner Joe and the Gipper were) for their allegedly Neanderthalish views, so too today those of us who try to point out the problematic doctrines and traditions in the Islamic world are pilloried as "Islamophobes."  A prime example is this derision of Monica Crowley for "Fearmong[ing] That the Muslim Brotherhood Will Take Over Egyptian Government" at a liberal site called (in what is a wonderful example of projection) "Crooks and Liars." 

So contra the puerile prognostications of most American media, the Muslim Brother candidate and USC Trojan (PhD, Engineering, 1982), Muhammad Mursi, is the new President of Egypt.  Perhaps his Freedom and Justic Party, a front organization for the MB modeled directly on the Turkish AK (Adalet va Kalkinma, "Justice and Development") Party, will prove to be, as the latter, an "Islamist-Lite" one. But is that prospect really all that reassuring? 

Unlike many of my conservative colleagues, I do not consider consider the MB a "terrorist" organization.  That allegation is prima facie false.  But that does not make the MB innocuous in Egypt, regionally, or globally, however; planting IEDS or training folks how to hide bombs in their underwear are not the sole (or even major) threats facing us and our allies.  As much as the American Left likes to ignore it, the Brotherhood's stated dedication to the creation of a dawlah islamiyah `alamiyah, "international Islamic state," should give everyone pause--because while this terminology scrupulously (and intentionally) avoids the hot-button term khalifah ("caliphate"), the meaning is nonetheless the same.  A Pan-Islamic state would, by definition, be a RELIGIOUS-based one that enforces shari`ah--rather problematic for Christians (and "heretical" Muslims) under such throw-back Sunni rule and, ominously for the rest of the larger non-Muslim world, by definition dedicated to the advancement of Islam across the globe.  


 Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo 

Of course, as noted in my aformentioned interview quote, the MB is smart enough to continue its slow-motion Islamization of society and not rashly and pre-emptively impose shari`ah on all Egyptians.  But besides possible overtures to Iran, being in political (if not full military) control of the most-populous Arab country (some 80 million) gives the MB enormous prestige and influence--not just with its adjuncts like Hamas, but also I would argue with groups being little examined in current analysis, such as the even-larger (if heretofore apolitical) transnational Tablighi Jama`at and the smaller, but even more vociferiously pro-caliphate, Hizb al-Tahrir (see my previous blog on this site). Ensconced in Cairo, the de facto capital of the Sunni Muslim world, the Muslim Brotherhood now has the cachet and capacity to seriously pursue a policy of promoting, on the one hand, (Sunni) transnational comity (if not yet outright political unity) and, on the other, assisting in the instilling and implementation of more conservative Islamic norms by working with organizations like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Tabligi Jama`at, respectively.  Mursi is not claiming the caliphate--but it's certainly reasonable to see him as the one who is preparing the way for a caliphal claim in our lifetime.  

All these problems could have been avoided if Egyptians had just voted for the Mahdi, instead of Mursi!  But of course, that would have been troubling in other ways....

Update, as of 1730 EST on Tuesday, June 26:  President Mursi just announced this afternoon that he would select, as two of the Vice-Presidents in his MB government, a woman and a Christian (presumably a Copt, since the Coptic Orthodox Church's membership includes at least 15% of Egypt's population).   The first is, frankly, rather unsurprising since the Muslim Brotherhood has had to work with the Sufis (Islamic mystics, and generally, if not always, more moderate and pro-women than the shari`ah-based groups like the Salafists and even the MB) to win the election, since Sufis make up some 20% of Egypt's Muslims.  As for a Coptic VP--well, again, the MB is nothing if not pragmatic and in this initial ensconcement in power could neither afford to alienate such a large contingent of Egyptians, nor to get on the wrong side of the international community (assuming the Obama Administration would even bother to notice if Christians were repressed).  Whether a Copt would ever be allowed to run for the Presidency and, if successful, to actually take office is another question entirely.  I suspect not, knowing the history of dhimmis in Islamic law and rule. As it is, the status of women and Christians in the new Sultanate of Egypt is now akin to that of both groups in the old Ottoman Empire: thrown token bones of authority to chew on (as in Imperial Istanbul with, respectively, the harem and the office of vizier), while the red meat of real power is reserved to the man at the top (President/Sultan).  


The Coat of Arms for al-Sultanah al-Misriyah, "The Egyptian Sultanate"--Mursi's New Symbol?

12:26 pm edt          Comments

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hizb al-Tahrir: Still Coming to America in 2012

 On Sunday, June 17, I flew to Chicago and attended the third "national" conference on American soil of Hizb al-Tahrir [HT].[1]  This is a Muslim organization devoted to re-establishing the (Sunni) caliphate[2] by following the political philosophy of the group's founder: the Palestinian Arab Muslim Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani (d. 1978),[3] whose overarching principle is that "Islam has no existence without the state"[4]-that is, the caliphate (the office of "successor" to Muhammad as political, military and spiritual leader of the world's Muslims).  I attended the first such conference, in 2009 (and wrote it up for the "Washington Times:" "Gathering Clouds Here"). 


The HT conference, entitled "Revolution: Liberation by Revelation" had originally been slated to be held at the posh Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, IL-but that venue rescinded its offer after a campaign by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.  HT relocated to the  run-down Lexington House on very short notice (in fact, I was informed of the location change by an email from HT officials very early Sunday morning, the day of the conference-when neither HT's web- nor Facebook-pages were yet displaying the information).  This may explain the rather sparse attendance which I estimated at some 250-300 individuals-less than in 2009, and far fewer than the expected 1,000-as well as the total lack of police presence (again, compared to 2009, when uniformed officers were present in the dozens).  Also, whereas the first American HT meeting was heavily African-American Muslim (about 1/3, in my estimation), this one was heavily Arab and "white" Muslim  with certainly fewer than 10% black.  Women were also much less in attendance in 2012, and none of them were African-American-again, quite a contrast from three years ago.  The "sisters" mostly stayed in a sequestered room with the younger children and babies, and the ones that did venture into the main meeting hall were limited to the far left side of the hall, avoiding the men. Regarding children, a number of men in the conference had brought their elementary-age sons, too.  Everyone I encountered was polite, if a bit distant; some teen-age/20-something Muslims I was speaking to at the door said "we don't recognize you"-but when I spoke to them in Arabic, and introduced myself as a researcher and writer on groups like Hizb al-Tahrir, they became very friendly.  I should also note that before the conference began I met Dr. Muhammad Malkawi (the keynote speaker, on whom more below), and gave him my card-so I hope to be in contact with him in the future.


The orange parts should be the caliphate, according to HT. When are those of us in the indigo (Christian) parts going to wake up? 

The conference began with Qur'anic recitation at noon, sharp, which lasted for about five minutes.  During this period I took the opportunity to scrutinize the charts of the proposed caliphate adminstrative organization[5] which were being projected on the screens on either side of the hall. The office of "Director of Jihad" under the Caliph, tantamount to War Minister/Defense Secretary was unsurprising-but I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the position of "Execution Assistant."  After a bit of textual deconstruction, however, it became apparent that the HT chart-makers intended to say "Executive Assistant"-more-or-less "Chief of Staff."[6]  Still, having published an article on decapitation in Islam, reading that during the Qur'an recitation caused me to feel for the cross I was wearing under my shirt.  Finally, post-Qur'anic chanting and an introduction by the moderator about the "tyrants falling in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and the struggle in Syria"-the HT formal lectures began.

Session I: "Revelation: Facts and Realities"

First speaker: Raza Imam, a Muslim healthcare consultant from the Chicago area

Mr. Imam's lecture was entitled "Uprisings in the Muslim World: Conditions, Causes, Motivations."  He purported to give a historical background, but only went back (of course) as far as the dissolution of the Ottoman caliphate by Kemal Mustafa (Atatűrk) in 1924 which also "halted the Islamic way of life." Yet the past 30 years have seen an "Islamic upsurge," with the "Islamic renaissance [sic] in Central Asia," the "heroic Lebanese resistance," etc.  "Pew and other polls show that overwhelming majorities of Muslims in the world want shari`ah." THIS is the correct background to the ‘Arab Spring' and shows that, in reality, "Muslims have been challenging tyrants since the destruction of the Ottoman caliphate." 

Conditions for this Muslim resistance have included:

1)     Collapse of the USSR and its support for Arab tyrants

2)    US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, which have weakened the US

3)   Obama's failure regarding the Muslim world in general and Palestine in particular (his popularity "is less than 10% in most Muslim countries)

4)   US unilateralism and its "war on terror"

5)   Global economic crisis since 2008.

These particular conditions, when added to the existing political oppression and poverty of the world's Muslims since the Ottoman collapse-making most Muslim countries Western "colonies"-are causing the Arab-really, Muslim-Spring.  Political oppression is worse in the Arab Muslim lands than anywhere else in the world-because of the Western-supported and -influenced "tyrants," who have massive wealth which the common people see little of.  Sixty-seven million Arabs live below the poverty line, and the GDP of all the Arab Muslim countries together is less than that of some individual Western countries.

The motivations for the ‘Arab [Muslim] Spring would include:

1)     `Aqidah, "faith" or "doctrine" of Islam

2)    The failures of both capitalism and socialism/Communism

3)   The failure of nationalism.

        [At this point the first of several takbir call-and-response chants broke out: a (probably planted) rabble-rouser shouts out Takbir! ("Praise!"),[7] then the audience (yours truly excepted) responds with Allah[u] akbar!] The Arab Spring has done away with the attitude of "love the world and hate death," the same attitude which "Prophet Muhammad" despised.  The Arab Islamic uprisings have done much good work, but they have not yet restored the "Islamic way of life"-which can only be done via the caliphate.


The saddest day in history, for HT folks. 

Speaker 2: Abu Anas (no biographical data available) spoke on the topic "The Syrian Revolution: Conspiracies, Challenges and Aspirations".  He was much more bombastic, and less analytical, than Imam.  He opened with a quotation from the Qur'an about the "Battle of the Ditch/Trench" (when Muhammad's forces fought the pagan Medinans)[8] and, later, cited passages about the "arrogance of Pharaoh."[9] Throughout the rest of his presentation, Anas would return to one of the other of these passages and use them to excoriate Bashar al-Assad and the ruling "thugs" or "gangsters" in Damascus. (Although, curiously, he never once adduced the fact that al-Assad and the rulers are Alawi-a pseudo-Shi`i sect deemed heretical by most Sunni scholars.[10]) It struck me during this diatribe that the US administration finds itself, officially, on the same side as Hizb al-Tahrir on the Syrian issue-yet Anas still maintained that "Syria's major ally is not Iran-but the US." As proof he cited that Western powers intervened in Libya, but refuse to do so in Syria, and showed pictures of Hafiz al-Assad with Presidents Nixon and, later, Clinton.  The US/West is following in Syria the same "Yemeni Scenario" which shortcircuited the Yemeni "revolution:" 1) sell out the leadership 2) gain control of the rebel, and 3) betray the revolution.  "The US is a hegmon that only puts up a façade of caring about human rights"-which seems to me like a downgrade, since the US-as-empire was the favorite trope during the Bush Administration.  Anas said that neither the US nor the Europeans want a "free Syria," and that even Russia was merely playing the "bad cop" to the US/Euro "good cop."  In addition, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon are in league with the US against Syria. Nonetheless, the al-Assad regime is a "house of cards" [time for more takbir here!] from which "tens of thousands of soldiers" had already deserted. Anas then spoke directly to the armies of all the Arab countries: "you must help those opposed to the Syrian regime; don't wait on the US or UN Security Council to do it!" The "world-wide conspiracy against the Muslim ummah will ensure that never happens.

Session II: "Liberation by Revolution"

        The first speaker in this second session was Haytham Kayed (again, no biographical information provided; not could I find any online), who was if anything even more demagogic than the previous speaker.  He began by focusing on the alleged victimization of the Arab Springers then rather disjointedly lurched into condemnations of secularism.  "There is no moderate Islam-no meeting between [Thomas] Jefferson and Prophet Muhammad." Muslims have a choice between 1) the Islamic way of life under the caliphate, and 2) the false system of secularism, because "the call to secularism is in reality a call to polytheism" and "there can be no compromise on al-Aqsa" (presumably a reference to Palestine and one of the two Muslims structures-the other being the Dome of the Rock-currently extant on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem).  Kayed also fulminated "do not insult Islam by acting as if it cannot be enacted in its totality," and exhibited a bit of cognitive dissonance (bordering on schizophrenia) in downplaying the well-documented modern Muslim persecution of Christians by saying, on the one hand, that "non-Muslims in our lands are descendants of dhimmis who benefited from 1,300 years of Islamic rule," and, a few moments later, adducing the example of the 9th c. AD Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid to responded to a defiant Byzantine Christian emperor as an "infidel dog" who would have to be taught a lesson.   Kayed also told the audience that they were "living in the times right before the rise of Salah al-Din"-the Kurdish leader who led the forces that re-took Jerusualem from the Crusaders in 1187 AD.  Muslims need a leader like Muhammad "al-Fatih," Muhammad "the Conqueror"-the Ottoman sultan who destroyed the last vestiges of the Christian Byzantine Empire and took Constantinople in 1453 AD. 


Mehmet II conquers Constantinople, 1453: one of the happiest days in history, says HT, not least because those dhimmi Christians are in their proper place. 

        The final speaker was the keynote and intellectual heavy-weight-one Dr. Muhammad Malkawi, Dean of Engineering at Jadara University, Irbid, Jordan, and author of Fall of Capitalism and Rise of Islam (2010). His talk was entitled "Islam: A Mercy of Threat" [sic].  It was rife with charts and graphs, some of which were frankly nonsensical; for example, his very first one displayed arrows showing Islam going up, and nationalism, capitalism and socialism all trending down-yet while the x-axis showed dates by decade, the y-axis had no data whatsoever, so his metrics for his claim were not just fuzzy but nonexistent.  A patina of scholarship differentiated Malkawi's talk from the others-such as when he adduced an alleged quote from Francis Fukuyama to the effect that "capitalism is collapsing."  Yet he segued from such Western (secular) sources to the Qur'an-right after citing Fukuyama, he stated that "the devil says ‘drop Islam, follow democracy.'" Then Malkawi immediately cited the famous British Anglican cleric and scholar of Islam W. Montgomery Watt, that "the Qur'an has many valuable divine truths."

        Whereas many Westerners claim there is an "Islamic threat," in reality it is capitalism that is a threat. Malkawi attempted to demonstrate this through faux scholarship: charts and graphs showing the death and suffering tolls wrought in Western societies by alcoholism, AIDS, tobacco, incarceration rates of black men, poverty, etc.  One looked in vain for any evidence of causal effect between capitalism and these negative phenomena, or any comparison between the (alleged) rates of these phenomena in Western societies and in non-Western/non-capitalist ones.  Malkawi was too busy trying to demonstrate that "capitalism systematically produces poor people"-whereas an Islamic system does, and would, not.  The irony of a room full of Muslims who live in the West and, by all indications, make a good living by doing so listening to such a screed seemed lost on all present.

        Western decadent and deadly capitalism is institutionalized at the international level, where the IMF and World Bank "keep the world's population in debt, so as to colonize and steal their wealth."  Even Turkey, the most-indebted Muslim nation, is not immune.  Women are more oppressed in capitalism than in Islam: "the scarf on the head is not a threat," and keeps a woman from being a "sexual bunny."  Malkawi backed this up with yet another contextless chart, this one showing domestic violence rates in the US-but, again, giving no comparison to rates of wife (or wives') abuse in, say, Nigeria or Egypt or KSA or Iran or Pakistan or Indonesia or any Muslim nation.  He curiously claimed that because inheritance laws in the US allow a decedent to designate who receives his estate, and do not mandate that women receive some portion, that this means Islamic inheritance laws treat women better-although the Qur'an and shari`ah mandate that a female only receives half of what a male does.  One has to give him credit for inventiveness, if not coherence.  In fact, Malkawi claimed that shari`ah overall is better than Anglo-American common law, in which "laws are made up as you go."

        In conclusion, Dr. Malkawi posed the question "what is my role" in bringing about the caliphate? He never really answered this, but rather launched into another series of attacks on Western society and attitudes.  Regarding terrorism, Malkawi argued that it "does not come from any ideology, but from the unjust environment.  Islam has nothing to do with that."  One wonders how he would explain that fact that 31 of 51 foreign terrorist organizations on the current US State Department list thereof are Islamic ones.  But it's also striking, again, that this view is virtually the same as that espoused by our current DHS, DOJ and DoD.[11]  The caliphate is a panacea, in the eyes of Malkawi and the true believers of HT; it will eliminate poverty, end racism, restore and preseve female dignity, save children, spread justice, cure any and all societal ills and, presumably, allow dogs and cats to live together in peace.  The colossal historical ignorance, and self-delusional capacity, of the HT set is no more apparent than in such ridiculous claims: just a couple of hours reading Islamic history (even sans PhD in the field) would disabuse anyone-dedicated to rational thought, that is-of the notion that the lifestyle of the Muslim (and dhimmi) masses under the Umayyad, Abbasid or Ottoman caliphates was anything other than nasty, poor, brutish and short.  It takes a blind devotion to ideology and religion over reality to brush that away and pretend that re-creating an Islamic monarchy would pave the streets of the Islamic world with dhimmi-provided chocolate and gold. 

[Please see this clip for a visual representation of how Hizb al-Tahrir members view the effects of the restoration of the caliphate; a still is reproduced below.]


al-Nabhani's and HT's view of life in the restored caliphate.  Note the prominent presence of suckers.... 










[1] The correct written transliteration from the Arabic is Hizb al-Tahrir; the oft-employed Hizb ut-Tahrir is how the group's name is actually pronounced in spoken Arabic, and should not be used in print.

[2] The definitive work on this organization is Suha Taji-Farouki, A Fundamental Quest: Hizb al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate (London: Grey Seal, 1996).  

[3] On him see David Commins, "Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani and the Islamic Liberation Party," The Muslim World, Vol.  LXXXI, Nos. 3-4 (1991), pp. 194-211.

[4] Ibid., p. 203.

[5] Such detailed organization schemas are not new-they were first drawn up by al-Nabhani himself in his seminal book Nizam al-Hukm fi al-Islam [The System of Governance in Islam] (Jerusalem: 1953), as per Commins, p. 207.

[6] I initially chalked this up to the fact that some of the HT folks' first language is not English.  Upon reflection, however, it's possible that "Execution Assistant" could have been an intentional-albeit macabre-pun by an HT member quite fluent in English; a rather disturbing thought.

[7] From the same verbal root, ka-ba-ra, "to enlarge, magnify" whence comes Allah akbar ("Allah is great[est]").

[8] Sura al-Ahzab [XXXIII]:25ff.

[9] Sura al-Anfal [VIII]:54ff.

[10] On this topic see my article "Divide and Confound-or Divide and Empower? The Opportunities and Dangers of Strategic PSYOP against the Alawi Rulers of Syria," History News Network, January 9, 2010.

[11] See statements by, for example, Obama Administration Counter-Terrorism Advisor John Brennan and the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, that the military "purge" all counter-terrrorism training material that mentions "Islamic" terrorism; and this article, "White House Review Threatens Counter-Terrorism Operations," Westminster Institute, Nov. 22, 2011. 

11:20 am edt          Comments

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hizb al-Tahrir Hookah in the Windy City

Today I attended the third US conference, in Chicago, of Hizb al-Tahir--the "Party of Liberation" dedicated to resurrecting the caliphate in order to heal the ills of not just the Islamic parts of the world, but the larger dhimmi (especially Christian) parts of it, too.  Once I recover from travel, I shall be writing up what I learned for publication in an as-yet undetermined venue.  Stay tuned. 


12:41 am edt          Comments

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

Mahdi, Mahdism, Eschatology, Usama bin Ladin, Dajjal, Ahmadinejad, al-Sadr, Hizbullah, Yajuj wa-Majuj, Dabbah, Jesus, `Isa, Holiest Wars, Nasrallah, End of Time, Twelfth Imam, Middle East Politics, Iran, Iraq, al-Sistani, Awaited Mahdi, al-Mahdi, the Mahdi, Hojjatiyeh, Armageddon, Dabbah, Muhammad, Hadith, Jihadists, Apocalypse, Consultant, Islamic Mahdis, Osama bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda, al-Qa`ida, Azzam, Muhammad Ahmad, Ibn Tumart, al-Utaybi, Islam, Islamic, Muslim, Messiah, Ahmadinezhad, Khamanei, Ayatollah