Countering Violent Extremism: Middle-earth Edition

New Plan to Counter Violent Extremism in Middle-earth to be Implemented

“Isengard Times,”  Thursday, 10 July 3018 Third Age

The office of Saruman the White, Chief Strategist of the Western powers, has announced that a new policy formulated by the White Wizard will soon be incorporated into the defense and foreign policies of Rivendell, Lorien and the major power, Gondor.  This will constitute a substantial shift from previous administrations, and marks the triumph of the White Wizard’s approach over that of his chief rival, the now discredited Gandalf the Grey.

In explaining this major policy shift, Saruman’s spokesman Grima Wormtongue issued the following edited transcript of his boss’ discussion with Gandalf:

“A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all…..We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise…may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose….” (Wormtongue denied an allegation raised by Minas Tirith News Channel that these quotations were plagiarized from an earlier work called The Lord of the Rings, p. 259 specifically.)


Wormtongue added, in response to a follow-up question, that referring to this “new Power” as “Sauron,” the “Dark Lord,” or the “Great Eye” wasn’t helpful and in fact simply further inflamed the geopolitical situation, emboldening Orc depredations and terrorism by insulting their holy leader.


Grima also admitted that a counter-proposal had been sent from Denethor, Lord and Steward of Gondor, to Saruman via palantir that called for more study of Mordor’s ideology. But the Chief of the Istari had countered that his own millennium of study was sufficient to demonstrate the compatibility of that Eastern belief system with Western traditions and that despite the failure of earlier Third Age CVE programs, this one would work.

The aforementioned Gandalf the Grey could not be reached for comment, as he was enjoying some down time in Orthanc and Saruman’s press secretary could not say when he would be available again.

To be continued….




Is Islam Really the New Black?

The belief that any criticism of the Islamic religion is tantamount to racism has become entrenched in our society–or at least in political discourse.  Bernie Sanders fulminated that President Trump’s temporary travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations was “racist.”  Marches against shari`ah law were attacked as “racist” by SJWs and other virtue-signalers.  Even liberals who acknowledge that Islam is NOT a biological race (if such a thing actually exists among Homo sapiens), at venues like “Huffington Post” and “Vox,” immediately–and rather oxymoronically–insist that there can be (I’m  not making this up) “racism without race” (as per the former article) and that linking Islam to terrorism is just another nefarious manifestation of “Orientalism” as defined by that “eminent [sic] Middle East scholar Edward Said” (according to the latter piece).  The flip-side of this is that many liberals  (and some conservatives) axiomatically contrapose “white” and “Muslim, with the clear implication being that the former encompasses Christians, while the latter must be dark(er) of skin.

I don’t want to discuss the very clear precedents within Islam for violence against non-Muslims, nor the ridiculous assertion that ideologies other than Islam are the main motivators of terrorism.  I simply want to explode the myth that Muslims belong to a “race” with more melanin than others, especially Christians.

Clearly, Islam is not a “race” because unlike skin color, epicanthic folds or lactose tolerance one is not born with it (despite Muslim propaganda otherwise).  So we can dispense with that nonsense.

What about the contention that Islam is the religion of the world’s brown and black people?  Well, the major continental areas where such live are Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American (all of South and Central America to include Mexico).  There are about 250 million Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (based on World Bank and Pew data) and 563 million Christians in Latin America (combining Wikipedia info on the region and on religion there).  That means at least 813 million of the global Christian population of 2.2 billion are “black” or brown.” What about Islam? Muslims number about 240 million in Sub-Saharan Africa (so says Pew) but only perhaps 3 million in Latin America (according to analysis of US State Department data).  That means in the two continents usually held up as the “darkest” parts of the Global South, Christians outnumber Muslims at over 3:1.

Iran has 73 million people, mostly Muslim.  Many of them look like this (and no, it’s not a Saruman audition–although Iran’s foreign policy might indicate otherwise):


Ditto for Balkan Muslims, such as the Rifa`i Sufis.  Turkey has about the same Muslim population as Iran and almost all of them are what liberals would call “white.”

Now here are some examples of that allegedly non-white religion of Christianity:


Those are some of the Nigerian Catholic bishops (courtesy of that organization’s website).

Here’s a picture of one of my favorite icons hanging on the wall in my study–that of St. Moses “the Black:”


He would have been surprised to hear that Christianity was a “white” religion.

In the United States, 80% of the  35 million Latino adults (Pew data) are Christian while 83% of the nearly 40 million black Americans are Christian (as per this site).  That’s a lot of non-white Christians in the world’s largest Christian nation. And in fact, seven of the 10 countries with the largest Christian populations are non-white ones: Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia (again, as per Pew).

As a Christian, and an American, I really don’t care about a person’s skin color or “race.” But the “progressives” have been braying about that topic for so long and so frequently that I deemed it necessary to point out the inanity and intellectual bankruptcy of their claims about race as it relates to Islam.


ISIS Goes to (Christian) Seminary

OK, ISIS WENT to seminary–a Lutheran one, in fact.  Back in October 2014 I was invited to lecture at the institution whence I obtained my M.A.R.: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. My address was entitled “Fighting for the End of the (Christian) World,” and worth posting at this time because 1) it’s a solid primer for anyone new to Islamic eschatology in general, whether wishing to learn about it from a secular or Christian perspective; and 2) the video was just recently made available in a much more accessible format.

Keep in mind that even if ISIS is stripped of its territory and “Caliph” al-Baghdadi sent to consort with the houris (which seems not to be the case currently), its beliefs about the Mahdi, the Dajjal, the return of Jesus, etc., will remain as they have for 14 centuries: core beliefs of many Muslims, stemming in most particulars from the Hadiths (alleged sayings of Muhammad’s) and in others from the Qur’an itself.

Here’s the link to my 40″ presentation.

Dome of the Chain in front of DoR, 11.13 (2)

Qubbat al-Silsilah, “the Dome of the Chain,” adjacent to Qubbat al-Sakhrah, “the Dome of the Rock”, in Jerusalem.  I took this picture on my last trip there in 2013.  According to Islamic tradition, all of humanity will pass under its portico on the Day of Judgment–so no doubt ISIS would like to get control of this!

I might add that I first wrote at length on ISIS in June 2014 (see my 2015 book Ten Years’ Captivation with the Mahdi’s Camps, pp. 21-31: “The Hour of ISIS Power: How Did It Come to This?”)–so I was examining ISIS as an eschatological phenomenon within Islam long before Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants” was published in spring 2015.

Also,  here’s a link to an article about my talk by the news organization for my denomination (the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)–which, while accurate overall, unfortunately repeats some of the same misapprehensions rampant in the mainstream media (“extremists,” for example).

Welcome to The Occidental Jihadist

Friends, Romans, Country-men (and -women),  fervent jihadists, frustrated Mahdists:

Some of you may have been following my Muslim millennial musings over at “”  Probably many others of you are new.  In either case, thanks for checking out this site and if you are so moved, please follow it.  One of the major complaints about my former site was the inability to do just that.  Problem solved!

By way of brief bio: I’m a Christian (conservative but not fundamentalist); PhD in Islamic, World and African history (Ohio State, 2001); former US Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to US Special Operations Command; author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth; history professor; and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s “War Stories: Fighting ISIS“).  I’m also a huge Shakespeare fan, and fence saber as often as I can–and usually left-handed.

Thanks again for checking out my site.  Stay tuned for more substantial commentary ASAP!