Whitewashing Terrorism

First, a quick definitional overview:


I’ve written before about those who employ the second meaning of “whitewash” when writing of Islam and Islamic terrorism–here, for example, elsewhere on this blog; or here, in another online venue.

But this past week I wrote a long piece for The Stream which deconstructs–demolishes, actually–the Left’s current campaign to, literally, make terrorism “white.”  It’s entitled “White Terrorists v. the Sultans of Slaughter.”  Check it out.

Of course, these aren’t the terrorists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking for–although they’re definitely white.

Rouhani Larijani Khameini

Iran’s top three leaders (credit).


The 2020 Democrat Presidential Field: Sovereigns of True Melancholy

A year ago I wrote a very long (and quite well-researched, if I may say so) post looking at Shakespeare’s plays and finding fitting analogs for both Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Since it was such fun, I did a similar one comparing the current crop of Democratic Presidential aspirants to characters in the Bard’s oeuvre. It published this past week over at The Stream, entitled “What Fools These Democrats Be.”  Check it out.  (And if you click on my photo there, it will take you to the other 11 articles of mine which they’ve run so far.)

By the way: the title of this post is from Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV, Scene 9). 

I leave you with a picture of me as Elizabethan-era highwayman Robert Middleton from the play Thee & Thou put on by the Pumphouse Players, Cartersville, GA in February 2019.  (The excellent R. Clay Thompson as the Bard himself is berating me.) And yes–that’s a wig.



False, Red and Black Flags in Islam

This past week I did two radio interviews.  One was a 70″-long discussion with my good friend Pete Turner on his “Break It Down Show” about two topics: patriotism-nationalism and then the Middle East, focusing on Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and whether the ayatollahs have any desire to use them to “hotwire the apocalypse.”  (The answer is “no,” as anyone who follows me will already know–which makes the attempt to paint Iran’s leadership as apocalyptically suicidal a false flag one).  The other was with my Colorado friend at KNUS AM 710, Denver, Peter Boyles.  He and I discussed the US’ forever war in Afghanistan.

Analyzing Iran and Afghanistan started me thinking about Khurasan (or Khorasan)–the ancient geographical region straddling modern Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan whence came the Abbasids, in 750 AD, bearing their black flags. These banners exploited eschatological hadiths and empowered the Abbasid movement to conquer the Umayyads and set up a caliphate that came to be known as the “Golden Age” of Islam.


Khurasan, c. 9th century AD, under the Tahirid Dynasty (from “Abdallah ibn Tahir al-Khurasani,” Wikipedia). 

The Abbasids’ original flag was, it seems, a purely black one.  Their successors, the Seljuks, added the shahadah (“there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger”)–as shown in this illustration, center-right:


“A troop of spectators on horseback and with inscribed banners…from al-Hariri of Basra….” (from “Islamic Flags,” Wikipedia). 

Here’s the flag of the modern “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” (from “Flag of Afghanistan,” Wikipedia):


Here’s the top text, isolated.  It reads “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger;” and below that “Allahu akbar,” “God is great[est].”


Here’s the flag of the modern Islamic Republic of Iran (taken from “Flag of Iran,” Wikipedia):


That calligraphy in the green and red fields actually reads “Allahu akbar” (albeit with the second word in Arabic turned on its side):


And of course what’s on the ISIS flag? The same shahadah as on the Seljuk or Afghan (or Saudi) flags–but seemingly written by someone just starting madrasah:


From “Black Standard,” Wikipedia.

And in a more overtly eschatological vein, here’s the flag of the Mahdist State of the Sudan, 1881-1898 (from “Mahdist State,” Wikipedia):


An excellent close analysis of this and various other flags of the state established by the Sudanese Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad, can be found here.  But I want to zero in on the last two lines of the one above:


The first line reads…wait for it…”there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”  Surprised? I think not.

The second one kicks things up a notch, eschatologically (and heretically), however: “Muhammad al-Mahdi [is] the khalifah of the messenger of Allah.” Of course, few outside Sudan in the late 19th century believed that. But it does show how seamlessly End Times belief in Islam can be grafted onto extant, established beliefs.

So is it a red flag day in the Islamic world, at present? Or a black flag one?  Both, it seems, as there is little difference between them.

Let’s just hope we don’t see a Mahdist flag day any time soon. We won’t in Iran–but we might from ISIS or elsewhere in the Sunni world.

(And if you’ve not yet done so: listen to U2’s “Red Flag Day” from their latest album, Songs of Experience.)



Formics & Muslims & Crows–No Lies.

Ender’s Game is one of the greatest science-fiction novels ever written.  Don’t let the mediocre 2013 movie version, which even Harrison Ford couldn’t save, fool you.  There’s a reason the book (which came out in 1985) is on the suggested reading list by the Commandant of the Marine Corps University.  Set a century or so in the future, the book describes how humanity barely survived an attack by intelligent insectoid aliens, then turned the tables and waged interstellar war to take the fight to the Formics, or “Buggers.”  Desperate for innovative leadership, Earth starts training young boys and girls as soldiers and commanders–eventually producing Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a military genius who leads not just the defeat of the aliens, but (unwittingly) the destruction of their home planet and entire species.

Orson Scott Card, the author, wrote several sequels; but in recent years, he has worked with Aaron Johnston on several prequels.  The latest, The HiveVolume Two of the Second Formic War came out last month–and I read it in two days.  The insights into warfare in these books are staggering (hence it making the USMCU reading list).  One in particular in this latest volume struck me:  “The first rule of war is to understand your enemy. Not just her supplies and weapons and objectives, everything we can see and calculate. But also her psyche, her motivations, her fears. Everything that is in her mind. For it is only in the pursuit of that understanding that armies can identify the enemy’s weakness and vulnerabilities” (p. 115). [“She” is used because the astute protagonists of the book correctly figured out–in the face of official military intelligence opposition–that the aliens were led, indeed controlled, by a Hive Queen.]

I observed something quite similar in a 2014 blogpost on my old website, which wound up in my book Sects, Lies and the Caliphate, pp. 145-146: “One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1972 atypical Western Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford.  Johnson is a mountain man somewhere in the Rocky Mountains…in the mid-19th century, fighting the elements, bears, wolves and of course Indians…. At one point Johnson is asked to guide a U.S. Cavalry unit and a Protestant minister through a sacred Crow Indian burial ground, in order to relieve a band of trapped American settlers. Johnson replies that doing so could be dangerous because the area is “big medicine.” Reverend Lindquist sneers “you don’t believe that!?” To which the mountain man retorts “it doesn’t matter; THEY do!” Of course, Sun Tzu said much the same 2500 years ago: “if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” And the Chinese strategist’s The Art of War is on the recommended reading list of the aforementioned USMCU, West Point and the Chief of Naval Operations.

Yet here we are, 18 years after Islamic terrorists carried out the worst attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, and much of the military brass (and even more of the intelligence community) still acts as if Islam has nothing to do with jihad.  Just a few years ago the head of US Special Operations Command, MG (then) Michael Nagata, said regarding ISIS: “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.” More recently, in 2018, former Trump Administration National Security Adviser (and Army Lieutenant General) H.R. MacMaster stated that ISIS and other such terrorists were actually “irreligious criminals” who had “perverted” Islam. Such willful blindness, alas, did not end with the dhimmistic Obama Administration.


The first translation of the Qur’an into French, 1647; this was the basis of the first English translation, two years later.  So for 370 years we’ve had the Muslim holy book available–yet some STILL don’t understand what motivates ISIS? [Source: Wikipedia, “Orientalism in Early Modern France.”]

President Trump, to his credit, bucks this trend–to a certain extent.  In his administration’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism, Trump’s writer(s) at least mention “radical Islamist terrorism” some 16 times.  Obama’s analogous document has only one reference to Islam at all–and that is to disparage al-Qa`idah as a “distorted interpretation” thereof (p. 3).  This is why, in a long analysis of Trump’s NSCT, I refer to him as the one-eyed man being, nonetheless, king.  Some grudging acknowledgement of reality is better than total blindness.

In the “Enderverse,” humans–and particularly the institution of CentCom, which heads the war defending Earth–must learn, first and foremost, to accept that one entity controls the invaders. In Jeremiah Johnson, the Army unit’s refusal to heed the warnings of the mountain man who understands, even if he does not agree with, the Crow Indians’ beliefs leads to death.  (Watch the movie, if you’ve never done so).  And as long as US government officials, military and civilian, insist that we can learn nothing about the psyche and mind of Muslim terrorists from the very sources they constantly proclaim as their authorities–the Qur’an, the Hadiths, the career of Muhammad, and Islam’s history of violence–we might continue to win battles, but we will not triumph in the overall war.

A New Stream of Orientalism

Three months ago, I started writing regularly for The Stream, a conservative and ecumenically Christian site “championing freedom, smaller government and human dignity.”  Since my banishment from Facebook, some folks may not realize that I’m doing so–hence the posting, here, of my articles to date:

6.27.19: “Will Islam Breed and Bomb its Way to Global Dominance?

6.18.19: “Luther Writes Once Again on the War against Islam

6.7.19: “Contain Iran, Don’t Invade It

5.4.19: “Trumps Policies Toward The Islamic World Are A Triumph

4.20.19: “Louis Farrakhan on the Crescent and the Crucifixion

4.19.19: “The Dhimmi and the Virgin: The Future of Notre Dame

4.8.19: “ISIS Is Not a Dead Parrot

3.24.19: “Making Golan Israeli At Last

3.20.19: “Mohammed’s Koran: The Book Amazon Won’t Let You Buy.”


A minaret in the Old City of Jerusalem, from my last trip there (2013). 


What Has Constantinople to do with Mosul–or Facebook?

Since I started this blog on July 9, 2017, replacing Mahdiwatch, I’ve tried to make good on its description as encompassing “culture, geopolitics and religion”–and of course focusing on Islamic eschatology (my academic area of expertise) whenever that topic revealed itself in the news. But today marks the first time I can adduce recent venues in which I opined on all three, AND zero in on Islamic eschatology, in one fell swoop.

Culture: On May 29 the inestimable Pete Turner’s “Break It Down Show” covered social media bias against conservatives.  He interviewed me and the co-founder of Wikipedia, Dr. Larry Sanger. I discussed my shadow-banning on Facebook (leading to my quitting that platform entirely), and the clear pro-Islam tilt in social media.

Geopolitics: On June 5 I was interviewed by Kip Allen on KFUO radio (St. Louis)–the flagship station of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (my denomination).  The program was “World Lutheran News Digest” and the specific topic was “Aftermath of the Fall of Constantinople.”

Religion: On June 2  the crowd-sourced, online analytical shop Wikistrat published my article “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi–Back from Occultation,” in which I analyzed what his reappearance means, and what future directions ISIS might take.


Here’s the guy whose line I plagiarized for this blogpost title.

“Making Gondor Great Again!”

Númenórean News Agency 

Ruling Steward Press Conference: “Making Gondor Great Again”

Lótessë 20, 3017 Third Age

The Steward of the Kingdom of Gondor (@SOTKOG) held an hour-long press conference earlier today.  Denethor II dealt with four key topics. He first defended his foreign and immigration policies.  He then rejected collusion charges. Finally, Denethor denounced “Elven social media discrimination.”  


The ruling Steward dismissed critics of his Easterling policy.  He acknowledged the Easterlings’ military build-up.  But he went on to say “no matter how many battle wagons they build, Gondor’s technology will win out, if war comes. It matters not if they can make their wains run on time.” A journalist from Gondor Defence Weekly pointed out that many of the Kingdom’s weapons systems were centuries old.  Númenórean steel bows, in fact, are Second Age technology.  Denethor replied that his “huge” military increases would soon fix that. Furthermore, he continued, “we stand by our alliance with the people of Dorwinion, disputing Easterling territorial claims on the Sea of Rhûn.”  As for Gondor’s trade imbalance with the Easterlings, and their tariffs on Western products, the Steward vowed to respond in kind.  “Easterlings exploit cheap Balchoth labor to undercut our Gondorian workers. This must stop.”

Denethor then fielded questions about his opposition to undocumented workers from the southern border.  “Stop with the euphemisms,” he thundered.  “They’re illegal immigrants, many of whom are  bad people. All Haradrim are not saints.”  The Steward noted that, in fact, the rulers of Umbar were doing nothing to stop caravans of ‘refugees’ from Far Harad coming to Gondor’s borders. Also, the “Black Númenórean” Party, headquartered in Umbar, has been trying to “reclaim” southern Gondor for many years, claiming we “Northerners” stole their land.  (He also reminded the press corps that “Black Númenóreans” refers to their ancestors’ alliance with Sauron, not any racial slur.) This group is pushing a virtual invasion, claimed Denthor.  He also quoted Madril, advisor to his son Faramir, that “some thousands more come every day.”  “If that’s not a crisis on our southern border, then I don’t know what is.” Also, new migration laws are before the Gondorian Council.  “Chain migration, especially by invaders wearing chain mail, will no longer be tolerated,” said the Steward.

When asked whether his total ban on Orc immigration was racist, or at least speciesist, Denethor replied “Have you not seen those guys? They’re bad hombres. If we let them in, we’ll soon have the same problem as Rohan: Orcs roaming freely across our lands—unchecked, unchallenged, killing at will.  Plus, in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re not even human.”  My policies are “making Gondor great again,” said Denethor.  “You in the media just won’t admit it.”

Did he still expect allies to increase defense spending? Denethor’s elder son Boromir stepped forward to field that question.  “Yes!” Why? Because “by the blood of your people are their lands kept safe.” Boromir revealed that he would soon be leaving for a top secret NATO (Northern Arda Treaty Organization) meeting in Rivendell, assuming he could find the place.   “One does not simply walk into Imladris,” he reminded the press corps.  At that Council, called by Master Elrond, Boromir planned to press the Elves to “pull their own weight” and “stop free-loading on Gondor’s back.”  “It’s time the Eldar spent as much of their wealth on defense as on hair products and harps,” the Steward groused.  Key human ally Rohan, with its large commitment to heavy cavalry, remains immune to the same criticism.  And Denethor brushed off questions about King Théoden’s alleged infirmity, noting that “by all accounts his chief advisor, Gríma Wormtongue, is an able man and working with our ally Saruman the White—or, as I still like to call him, Gunpowder Man.”


Haradrim “undocumented workers,” along with oliphaunt beasts of burden, moving into Gondorian territory. 

Veteran Minas Tirith Palace pool reporter Fomentor, son of Fulminatrix, badgered the Steward to answer charges of collusion with Mordor.  He replied “I don’t care what MSNBC [Mouth of Sauron National Broadcasting Company] claims. That never happened.  Yes, I am well apprised of the Enemy’s forces and their movements. But counsels may be found that are neither the webs of wizards nor the haste of fools. I have in this matter more lore and wisdom than you deem.” When pressed to explain the source of this amazing intelligence, the Steward replied “Do you think the eyes of the White Tower are blind? I have seen more than you know. I didn’t need Sauron’s help to become Steward. And my policies have been tougher on him than any other leader’s in Middle-earth. “  Denethor also pointed out that the Mithrandir Report, which the White Council had commissioned, had cleared him of any wrong-doing—although he was still unhappy with his younger son, Faramir, for his attachment to Gandalf the Grey making him, in effect, a “wizard’s pupil.”

In the last few minutes of his press conference, the Steward denounced what he called “Elven discrimination” against Men using the palantíri (the crystal balls given to Númenor by the Elves in the Second Age)  Although denying that he had access to a functioning one, Denethor noted he suspected that both Sauron and Saruman, as well as the Elves of the North, had been using such in recent years.  And in his long study in the library of Minas Tirith, he had found records indicating these Elvish devices were incredibly biased against Men in terms of usage and types of information sent and received on them.  In particular, traditionalists of both Gondor and the lost northern kingdom of Arnor had been singled out for exclusion, unable to post messages of which the Elvish censors disapproved.  Denethor said he would thus propose a magical device conference to examine this question.  Men and Elves would be invited; but also Dwarves, whose “never trust an Elf” attitude might prove useful.

Just as he was about to exit, Denethor fielded one last question. This was about rumors of the finding of Sauron’s One Ring and its being hidden in a northern region known as “the Shire.”  The Steward scoffed at this idea. Should the Ruling Ring ever resurface, sending it for safekeeping into the hands of a “witless halfling” would be folly.  Rather, it should  be “kept hidden dark and deep and not used unless at the uttermost of need.”  But this was all conjecture, Denethor stated—in fact, a pipe dream.  “Leave that sort of delusion to Gandalf, whose love of the halfings’ leaf has clearly slowed his mind.”  And with that, the Steward stalked out.

(Discussion About) God Is In The Radio

I’ve lost count of how many radio interviews I’ve done over the last decade or so.  Usually I am asked to opine on some aspect of Islamic history relating to modern terrorism, but thanks to my 2005 article “Beheading in the Name of Islam,” I’ve (rather unfortunately) been pegged as an expert on that specific dreadful topic.  Dr. Bill Bennett had me on his “Morning in America” show to discuss it, before the show went away (here’s the link via Hugh Hewitt and “Townhall”–I start at 28″ in).  “BBC 3 Counties” radio also interviewed me, back in 2015, regarding Islamic decapitation. The late Alan Colmes also had me on, mainly to argue about it–but FNC finally removed the link.


No, I don’t get this dressed up for radio interviews.  Or do I?

The two stations that have brought me on the most times are KNUS AM 710, Denver and KFUO AM 850, St. Louis.  Regarding the former, a number of hosts have interviewed me for their shows–but by the far my most appearances have been on “The Peter Boyles Show,” which is an early morning one out there.  Perhaps some time this summer I will get around to providing links to the dozens (at least!) of times Peter let me opine.  But today I’d like to do so for the 22 times I was interviewed on KFUO, which is the flagship station for my own denomination: the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:

March 3, 2012: Studio A, hour two: “Burning Qur’ans

June 16, 2012: Studio A, “Crusade v. Jihad

June 30, 2012: Studio A: “Is Islam Winning?”

September 14, 2012: The Bible Study, hour two: “General Info about Islam”

September 15, 2012: Studio A, hour two: “Attacks on US Embassies in Libya, Egypt

October 20, 2012: Studio A, hour one: “The Libyan Consulate Attack

November 19, 2012: The Bible Study, hour two: “General Info about Islam

December 1, 2012: Studio A, hour one: “The Morsi Power Grab in Egypt

August 18, 2013: Studio A: “Mahdism, Eschatology and Pew Data

August 17, 2013: Studio A: “Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt

February 2, 2013: Studio A, hour one: “John Brennan, the CIA and Islam

April 20, 2013: Studio A, hour two: “The Boston Bombing

May 25, 2013: Studio A, hour two: “The Murder of a British Soldier by Islamic ‘Radicals‘”

September 14, 2013: “The Syrian Civil War and Islamic Eschatology

October 19, 2013: Studio A, hour two: “The Battle of Vienna and the Reformation

October 20, 2014: Faith’n’Family: “The Appeal of Islam

April 30, 2016: World Lutheran News Digest [WLND]: “The Crusades

October 26, 2016: WLND: “Translating Arabic to English” [on Islamic theological terms]

August 23, 2017: WLND: “Eclipses and Islam

May 30, 2018: WLND: “US Embassy [in Israel] in Jerusalem

April 3, 2019: WLND: “Media Silence on Christians Deaths

May 1, 2019: WLND: “Attacks on Places of Worship

By the way: “God is in the Radio” is a hard-rock/metal song by Queens of the Stone Age.












The One-Eyed Man Is (Still) King: President Trump’s Policies Toward the Islamic World

On Saturday, April 27, I spoke before a metro Atlanta conservative group, the Madison Forum.  My topic was how President Trump is dealing with the Islamic world in four areas: Muslim immigration to the US; allies in the Middle East; ISIS in particular; and counter-terrorism in general.  The title of my discussion is a riff on a long blogpost I did last fall on the administration’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism.

Here’s the link to the 38-minute talk (my Power Point screens are embedded in the video).

And here’s the link to the 25-minute Q & A session which followed.

Pay no attention to the large painting of a rooster on my left.


I’ve also been on radio even more than usual lately, commenting on the fire at Notre Dame, the jihad on Christians in Sri Lanka, and the mass beheadings in Saudi Arabia.  Peter Boyles, who has an early morning radio show in Denver (710 AM KNUS), has had me on four times in just the last two weeks:

Off With Their Heads,” April 30

Sri Lanka and ‘Easter Worshippers‘,” April 23

Easter Attacks,” April 22

Notre Dame Burns,” April 16.





Reformed Islam Finally A Reality! ISIS and “Islamists” Refuted Once and For All!

For over a decade now, the official Islamic affairs arm of the Turkish government, the Diyanet, has been examining “hadiths”—sayings of the Prophet Muhammad—in order to filter out the spurious and violent ones.  (A recent proposal to do the same in Saudi Arabia has never gotten off the ground.)  Thanks to massive funding by the ruling AK party, Turkish imams have been combing through these sayings, and back in 2013 published the first multi-volume set of these updated hadiths.  Among other modernizations, amputation of a thief’s hand was said to be only fit for 7th century AD Arabia, not the modern world.

But according to Dr. Abu Hamid Ghazzali, director of Diyanet, another program—which funding came directly from the office of Turkish President Recep Erdoğan—has also been running simultaneously alongside the hadith one.  Its existence was kept secret because of the much more sensitive nature of the project: to examine problematic verses of the Qur’an, and if need be to find a way to excise them from the Muslim holy book.


This picture of Dr. Ghazzali, Dr. Kadizade and Dr. Sabbah was surreptitiously taken during a break in the committee’s long deliberations. 

Dr. Ghazzali, who holds a doctorate from al-Azhar in Cairo but is also a renowned Bektaşi Sufi, pointed out in an exclusive interview that the Sufis, or Islamic mystics, have long held that the Qur’an can be interpreted allegorically, not simply literally.  This perspective was brought to bear after long debate on the issue among Turkish scholars and vociferous opposition from the conservative imam Dr. Mehmet Kadizade.  Besides Sufism, Ghazzali pointed out that Isma’ili Shi`i scholar Hassan-i Sabah was brought in to advise and render opinions. And the reform committee even consulted the works of prominent Western scholar of Islam Christoph Luxenberg—a daring proposition, as Luxenberg’s works maintain that the Qur’an was originally written in Syriac, not Arabic, and that it is confusing and garbled due to bad translations into Arabic in the early days of Islam.

The major “exegetical paradigm” which this reform committee assumed was to question the centuries-old Islamic concept of naskh. This “abrogation” doctrine held that any of Muhammad’s revelations received later in his life trumped those from earlier; so since the ancient scholars had determined that, for example, Sura al-Tawbah was one of the last sent by Allah to Muhammad, its directive to attack non-Muslims (v. 5, in particular) overruled other, earlier-received passages promoting peace.

The Turkish reform committee approached the Qur’an differently, assuming that all sections are of equal divine authority.  Thus, Sura al-Baqarah:62, which states that Jews and Christians (and a more obscure sect, the Sabians) will be righteous before Allah and have no need to convert, is of equal weight with less tolerant verses.

It is clear why the committee had to meet in secret for years, as this sea change in the interpretation of the Qur’an will rock not just the casbah but the entire Islamic world.  Dr. Kadizade has already resigned his position and is rumored to have fled to an ISIS enclave in southern Libya, whence he has vowed to lead the world’s true Muslims against this Satanic heresy.  Dr. Ghazzali has sent a preliminary copy of the first volume—entitled The Prophet Motive: Islam for the Modern World—to Pope Francis I, in order to garner the pontiff’s approval and foster ecumenical dialog between the world’s two largest religions.  Ghazzali also said that he hopes for full reconciliation between Christianity and Islam to take place no later than 2076 AD/1500 AH, using this “reformed” Qur’an and a rumored new  holy book by the world’s largest Christian denomination, to be called the Orange Catholic Bible.