[Congressman Silvestre] Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East. We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

Full piece by Congressional Quarterly National Security editor Jeff Stein, here.


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who flaunts his ideological fervour, has been accused of undermining Iran’s Islamic revolution after television footage appeared to show him watching a female song and dance show. The famously austere Mr Ahmadinejad has been criticised by his own allies after attending the lavish opening ceremony of the Asian games in Qatar, a sporting competition involving 13,000 athletes from 39 countries. The ceremony featured Indian and Egyptian dancers and female vocalists. Many were not wearing veils.

Women are forbidden to sing and dance before a male audience under Iran’s Islamic legal code. Officials are expected to excuse themselves from such engagements when abroad but TV pictures showed Mr Ahmadinejad sitting with President Bashar Assad of Syria and Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, during last Friday’s ceremony in Doha.

Religious fundamentalists, usually Mr Ahmadinejad’s keenest supporters, are asking why he attended a ceremony that violated his own government’s strict interpretation of Shia Islam.

The Baztab website, considered close to Mohsen Rezaee, a former revolutionary guard commander with links to powerful sections of Iran’s political hierarchy, said Mr Ahmadinejad’s presence had offended Shias in Iran and elsewhere. “The failure of Ahmadinejad to object and his constant presence has damaged the image of Iran’s Islamic revolution and its commitment to Islamic rules in contrast with the Arab countries in the Gulf,” it said.

Full article here.

CAPE GIRARDEAU — The prophets of the Hebrew scriptures are known for their warnings of doom and gloom, but even Jeremiah — arguably the gloomiest Old Testament sage — would have tipped his hat to the Rev. David Clippard at the Missouri Baptist Convention’s annual meeting here this week.

. . . Clippard reserved his strongest words for what he said he considered paramount for all Americans: the threat of Islam. “Today, Islam has a strategic plan to defeat and occupy America,” he told the 1,200-strong crowd of delegates (called “messengers”), pastors and lay people, many of whom cheered his words. 

Clippard said the Saudi Arabian government and royal family had funded teaching positions and 138 Muslim student centers on university campuses across the United States, three in the University of Missouri system in Columbia, Rolla and St. Louis. “What they are after is your sons and daughters,” Clippard said. “They are coming to this country in the guise of students, and the Saudi government is paying their expenses.”

Full piece here.  Well, if it’s just that simple — setting up Muslim student centers in Missouri and what-not — why bother with nukes?

CASTELGANDOLFO, Italy (Reuters) – Pope Benedict told Muslim envoys on Monday that Christian and Muslim believers must reject violence, in an audience meant to defuse anger at his use of quotes saying Islam was spread by the sword.

The Pope expressed his “esteem and profound respect” for members of the Islamic faith in a meeting with diplomatic envoys from some 20 Muslim countries plus the leaders of Italy’s own Muslim community at his summer residence, Castelgandolfo.

“Christians and Muslims must learn to work together … in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence,” said the 79-year-old Pope.

It was the fourth time he had tried to make amends to Muslims, without actually apologising directly, for a speech at a university in his native Germany on September 12.

Full article here.  Meanwhile, with regard to Sister Leonella, who was murdered with her bodyguard in Somalia five days after the Pope’s remarks and after a call to violence by a Somalian Muslim cleric, the Pope said:

“Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, as it happened a few days ago to the Italian nun, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence,” the pontiff said. “This nun, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word ‘pardon,'” the pope told pilgrims during his traditional Sunday noon appearance. “This is the most authentic Christian testimony, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hate and evil.”

Full article here.

The man who tried to kill the late Pope John Paul II in 1981 has warned Pope Benedict XVI not to visit Turkey, saying his life could be in danger. The warning from imprisoned Turkish national Mehmet Ali Agca came amid a furore in the Muslim world over the Pope’s recent comments on Islam. Pope Benedict is planning to visit Turkey in November.

“As a man who knows these things, I say your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey,” Agca was quoted as saying.

Lawyer Mustafa Demirbag said Agca made his statement during a meeting at the high-security Kartal prison in Istanbul on Monday.

Full story here.

Abdullah IIName: King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Birth: January 30, 1962 in Amman, Jordan.

Claim to Fame: Successor to King Hussein, for whom the Jordanian constitution had to be amended to permit the ascension of a man whose mother was not an Arab Muslim, but an Ipswich typist; supposed 43rd-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad; and, an extra on Star Trek: Voyager.

Power Base: The old guard among the tribes of the East Bank (Transjordanians) who occupy important positions within the Jordanian security forces and the public sector, and who hold a tight grip on the majority of the Jordanian parliament through gerrymandering.

Google Hits: 84,800 hits for “abdullah ii antichrist” on September 21, 2006

Merits: Here in the West, we patronizingly tend to think of little King Abdullah as one of the good Arabs. Educated in the U.S. and at Oxford, he is charming, witty, has a blazingly hot young wife, and is frequently seen wearing European suits at the center of progressive global initiatives involving ecumenism, economic development and peace.

Russell at makes the case for Abdullah’s candidacy with the following evidence:

  • The Bible says that the Antichrist will be from Assyria (Isaiah 10:12, 14:25), which in its heyday included the lands now under the control of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Jordan’s people, incidentally, are genetically close to the Assyrians, according to a study by Stanford’s L.L. Cavalli-Sforza);
  • The “ten kings” in the Book of Revelations refer not to the nations of the European Union, but to a confederation of Middle Eastern sub-nations united in their desire to destroy Israel (in accordance with Psalms 83:1-5), many of which are now united under the umbrella of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan;
  • Abdullah’s British mother, Antoinette Gardiner, provides him with “Roman ancestry,” thus giving him the credentials for establishing a “Revived Roman Empire”;
  • As a so-called direct descendant of Muhammad, Abdullah is “looked upon by moderate Muslims as the al-Mahdi, the eschatological saviour to Islam” – a handy conflation of the Christian tradition of the antichrist with the Muslim tradition of the Mahdi;
  • In 1965, psychic Jeanne Dixon predicted a “child born somewhere in the Middle East on February 5, 1962 will revolutionize the world… and bring together all mankind in one all-embracing faith… a new Christianity… every sect and creed united through this man,” a description of an antichrist if ever an apocalyptic Christian has heard one. (NOTE: Although this prediction is often invoked to argue for the candidacy of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh as the Antichrist (she’s pretty creepy, I’ll give you that), astrologers cite the period around that date as “a very significant astrological event: a close grouping of seven planets in the sign of Aquarius, grouped within 17 degrees, at the same time as a solar eclipse.” And as astrologers like to say, it is appropriate to watch events unfold within a few days on either side of a solar eclipse to measure its effect – thus giving Abdullah’s birthdate of January 30, 1962 a possible identification with Dixon’s prediction. I’m just sayin’ . . .)
  • The fact that the Vatican announced a revision in the words of exorcism (eliminating references to a “Prince of Darkness” in favor of formulas referring to “causes of evil”) on the same day that Abdullah was named as his father’s successor (January 25, 1999);
  • The fact that Abdullah seems to be playing a role of increasing importance to the Middle East peace process, and in fact has been suggested as a possible new ruler for Iraq, post-Saddam Hussein.

Quay Fortuna’s Analysis: This Antichrist candidacy has a certain appeal to those who would choose to find an Antichrist in the Muslim world — though, judging by the search terms that bring many readers to my site, most anti-Muslim readers hope that the Antichrist would turn out to be someone much less loveable, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hassan Nasrallah, or Osama bin Laden. The fact that people in the West seem to see Abdullah in a positive light, such as a 2003 Travel Channel program which portrayed him as

… a “man for all seasons” … flying a helicopter, appearing in grand style in military situations, touring Petra (after taking a camel ride through the desert), riding a boat on the beautiful Gulf of Aqaba, meeting the Bedouin desert people (showing his common touch), amply demonstrating his charm/wit and Western education and command of English, making a rigorous climb of a mountain to a shrine for ” prophets ” of various religions

means to me that he is a much more solid candidate. Those other guys? Punks.

Viewing the question strictly through the smudged lenses of apocalyptic Christians, the credibility of King Abdullah as a candidate depends upon which part of the world will ultimately do the most to screw up Israel – the European Union, or moderates in the Middle East. According to the hard-line die-hards, it could truly go either way.

Was I the only viewer who was hoping that Anderson Cooper would’ve asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the Mahdi?


The Iranian Mullahs either already have, or will very soon be in possession of, nuclear weapons. This reality is horrifying in the context of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s verbalized fantasy of annihilating Israel. Part of this fantasy, and also the inspiration for it, is the apocalyptic world vision of Ahmadinejad — and of many of his co-rulers. This vision involves the Islamic Shiite belief in the return of the Hidden Imam, who, according to some, was supposed to have returned on August 22 — which Ahmadinejad ominously referred to when speaking about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The date has passed, of course, and no Hidden Imam has yet, arguably, appeared; nor has an Apocalypse, in our literal understanding of it, transpired.

By why did the Iranian president refer to August 22? And who exactly is the Hidden Imam? How and why does his supposed return inspire the nuclear Mullahs’ visions of annihilating Israel and, eventually, the rest of the non-Islamic world? Does Ahmadinejad believe that “speeding things up” in terms of the usage of nuclear weapons will hasten the return of the Hidden Imam?


A panel discussion on the supposed apocalyptic vision of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — including Islamic historian Timothy Furnish, journalist Serge Trifkovic, Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, and Dr. Andrew Bostom — here.

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