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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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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fox News Apocalypse: "War Stories: Fighting ISIS"

Of course, by "apocalypse" here I intend the original meaning of the Greek word: "unveiling" (although my liberal friends probably think of it in the other, destructive sense, since Fox is involved).  Fox News Channel is running a special edition of "War Stories" (yes, the Oliver North-hosted show) focusing on the Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria] and how to defeat it.  Times are: Good Friday, 10 pm; Saturday, March 26, 1 am, 5 am, 5 pm, midnight; and Easter Sunday, March 27, 3 pm and 11 pm.  Tune in, and let me know what you think! 


A still from my appearance on the show.  But Fox cropped out my swords and the cross on the shelf. 

12:53 pm edt          Comments

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Mullahs and ISIS and Nukes--Oh My!

Yesterday (3.1.16) I was interviewed by the informed, intelligent and articulate Derek Gilbert of SkywatchTV on the topic of Iran--specifically the Islamic Republic's latest elections, how that might impinge on Mideast politics, and the relative roles of eschatology and nationalism in the minds of Iran's leadership.  This is a good 20 minute primer on those topics, methinks.


12:28 pm est          Comments

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

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