Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Matt 24 Watch, 77: On the Black Flag Armies and the importance of learning from an all but forgotten recent past of totalitarianism

NB: Since this post continues to be discussed in an English Language Islamic forum, I link updated thoughts as at Feb 3, 2012; here. Also, cf. wider thoughts here. Also, kindly watch Mr Netanyahu's recent address to the UN in reply to Mr Abbas, a grim warning of what is on the table.

This morning I read a sadly revealing commentary by American Talk Show host, Dennis Prager that has given me much food for thought.

In the column, he described a brief conversation he recently had -- on a commercial airline flight! -- with a young University of California Santa Barbara co-ed:
She: What brings you to Denver?
Me: I am giving a speech.
She: What do you do?
Me: I'm a radio talk-show host.
She: Who did you vote for?
Me: McCain
She: Why?
Me: Smaller government and the war on terror.
She: Terror is the new communism.
Me: Communism killed about a hundred million people. And who do you think attacked and killed 3,000 of us on Sept. 11?
She: The [US] government.
Prager aptly comments:
. . . she had to be a student at a major university. She would never have come up with "Terror is the new communism" on her own. [In the sense she intended it, i]t is a moral obscenity that one has to learn . . . . At most universities, communism is a non-evil, indeed, largely a non-issue. The most enslaving and murderous movement in history is almost never taught as such. When communism is mentioned at all, it is usually solely in order to show how vile anti-communists were. Thus, as little as students may know about McCarthyism, most students far more readily identify it with evil than they do communism . . . .

Does one in 10,000 students know of the communist terror-famine that took about 6 million Ukrainian lives? How many know about the communist Pol Pot, who butchered nearly one-third of his fellow Cambodians? Or how many innocents were murdered in the Gulag Archipelago (or could even identify it)? Or that China's communist tyrant Mao Zedong killed about 60 million of his fellow Chinese? Or that Communist North Korea is essentially a concentration camp in the guise of a country?
(We need not bother with the folly of believing in the various conspiracy theories on the 9/11 attacks in the teeth of abundant and easily accessible evidence on what happened that sad Tuesday Morning; save to link to so humble a source as Wikipedia, here and here.)

Now, while Prager's example is from North America, there is no shortage of bright young people in our region captivated by similar, tendentious and deeply polarising mis-education. 

For, something is seriously wrong with how we are learing our history and with how we are therefore thinking about current issues and challenges. Something that is therefore potentially fatally dividing and polarising our civilisation. And, just when we need to stand together with moral clarity and resolute determination to see the struggle through in the face of a rising existential global totalitarian threat.
What "global threat"?
The what?

The fact that we don't know the phrase is itself an evidence of what is going on.
So, let's pause a moment, to hear Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabani – a chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America -- on the relevant hadiths (traditions of Mohammed):

“Hadith indicate that black flags [the flags of the army of Islam; now often seen in street protests] coming from the area of Khorasan will signify the appearance of the Mahdi is nigh. Khorasan is in todays Iran, and some scholars have said that this hadith means when the black flags appear from Central Asia, i.e. in the direction of Khorasan, then the appearance of the Mahdi is imminent.”

[The Approach of Armageddon? (Canada, Supreme Muslim Council of America, 2003), p. 231. (NB Others point out that Khorasan formerly referred to areas E & NE of Persian Empire; and point to the Taliban as the probable black flag army.) [HT: J Richardson, Will Islam be our Future?] ]

Then, let us hear no less than the Government of Iran speak, from the words of an official message to the world at Christmas 2007 in a Shiite IslamIST variation on the above Islamic traditions [note my distinctions], so that we can connect a few dots:
[T]he exploitation of the weak, the unjust system of distribution and denial of the rights of nations [i.e. inter alia Iran's "right" to break its former commitments under the Non Proliferation treaty, and access the technologies for the weapons that would equip it to "wipe Israel from the face of the map"], will end with the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS). In the government of the Imam man will witness real economic welfare throughout the world without any discrimination

. . . . Imam Mahdi and steadfast devotees will gather in Mecca . . . . Imam Mahdi sends troops who kill the Sofyani in Beit ol-Moqaddas [i.e. Jerusalem], the Islamic holy city in Palestine that is currently under occupation of the Zionists. . . . Imam Mahdi will be the leader while Prophet Jesus [NB: the Islamic end times no. 2 to the Mahdi: Isa, not the Biblical Jesus!] will act as his lieutenant in the struggle against oppression and establishment of justice in the world. Jesus had himself given the tidings of the coming of God's last messenger and will see Mohammad's ideals materialize in the time of the Mahdi. The seat of the Mahdi’s global government will be the city of Kufa [a Shiite city and centre of pilgrimage in Iraq] . . . .From here he will dominate the east and the west to fill the earth with justice.
And what will happen when Jerusalem is captured?

For that, we observe Egyptian authors Muhammad ibn Izzat and Muhammd ‘Arif, writing in Signs of Qiyamah (Islamic Book Service, New Delhi, 2004), p. 40:

The Mahdi will be victorious and eradicate those pigs and dogs [this is an allusion to an Islamic tradition that Jews were punished by Allah by being transformed into pigs, apes etc] and the idols of this time so that there will once more be a caliphate based on prophethood as the hadith states… Jerusalem will be the location of the rightly guided caliphate and the center of Islamic rule, which will be headed by Imam al-Mahdi… That will abolish the leadership of the Jews… and put an end to the domination of the Satans who spit evil into people and cause corruption in the earth, making them slaves of false idols and ruling the world by laws other than the Shari’a [Islamic Law] of the Lord of the worlds. [HT: JR]

Genocide, in one word. Or, as a notorious hadith that is cited verbatim in Hamas' charter, Clause 7, puts it:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews). When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla [= slave or servant of Allah], there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharqad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Summing up in the words of Joel Richardson:
Islamic tradition pictures the Mahdi as joining with the army of Muslim warriors carrying black flags. The Mahdi will then lead this army to Israel and re-conquer it for Islam. The Jews will be slaughtered until very few remain and Jerusalem will become the location of the Mahdi’s rule over the Earth.
In short, our civilisation now faces an ideology driven by an end-times global conquest mindset; one that is now on the verge of not only ballistic missiles but the nuclear bombs to put on them. One committed to the genocide of the Jews of Israel, and the conquest of the whole earth until it is duly submitted to Allah, to Allah's Prophet, to Allah's Law, and to Allah's Warriors led by Imam Mahdi.

U/D June 15, 2014, let me add a map I first found on or about Sept 11, 2001, produced by a Dawah -- "Missions" --  group, the World Islamic Mission Research Division . . . whicfh plainly demonstrates the close links between Jihad and Dawah (literally the demand to surrender on pain of conquest). Particularly note the after 100 years projection in the lower RH corner:

An ideology that of course has territorial claims against Israel: lands once under Islam must be recovered by any means necessary. 

(It is not at all a matter of who has legitimate historic claims to the land. The Jews obviously do, and the long term residents -- many of whom are Arabs -- do as well. If that was all that was at stake, any one of the many opportunities to get a reasonable compromise deal that would develop the region to the mutual benefit of all its peoples would have worked: in 1919, in 1947 - 48, in 1967, in 1977 - 79, in 1993 - 2000 and onward up to today. The hadith cited as clause 7 of the Hamas Charter tells us why all such deals have consistently failed, and why they consistently failed from the Arab side, with violence. [Post Colonialist myths about a Jewish colonising state that has imposed "Apartheid Mark II" on its Arab neighbours simply fail to explain the easily accessed facts. In fact, the closest thing to a colonial overlord was the British Mandatory Power under the 1919 Versailles-League of Nations regime. And, a League Mandate was very different from your typical colony! What, with annual reports to the League, on progress and issues, etc!])

But equally, IslamISM has claims that bear the same rationale against Spain -- al Andaluz.

Nowadays -- courtesy Dr Sultana Afroz's tendentious teachings that the original Spanish settlement of the Caribbean was Moorish [thus Islamic] and that most of the slaves brought here were Muslims, IslamISTS have similar claims against our Caribbean region as well.
But, Islam is "The Religion of Peace!"

Have you asked just what "peace" in the Islamic -- not even IslamIST, yet -- sense really means? (For, different worldviews will interpret key terms differently.)

Peace is peace!

Not necessarily. In classical, authoritative Islamic teachings and law, the world is "temporarily" split into two: Dar ul Islam -- the house of peace; and Dar ul Harb -- the house of war.

The dividing line: the former is under "proper" Islamic rule, and there is a global conflict with that part of the world that is in rebellion against Allah, His Law and His prophet. A conflict that is normally expressed militarily. (Indeed, the nearest Islamic comparison to gospel preaching missions to the world, is Dawah; strictly a call to surrender, with the implication that refusal is grounds for military attack. [And, reading back ways, many Muslims therefore view Christian Missionaries as agents of subversion and military threats. Indeed, that finds expression in using Intelligence Agencies as weapons to oppose such missionaries. {Added, kindly  cf. Declaration here, including the International Law, freedom of conscience and religion issues on pp. 2 - 3 and 5 - 6.}])

But Isalmists and terrorists are a tiny minority!

The IslamISTS are usually estimated as about 10% of the World's Muslims. 100 - 150 millions, including those who control the Government of Iran. That is actually far more than the total number of Nazis and Communists who so plagued the last Century, combined.
So, the threat is a little more directly relevant than we might think.

Which brings me to my second bit of food for thought this morning; an article by Paul E. Marek:
I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War II. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis,” he said, “but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.” . . . .

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

. . . . Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because, like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.
So, we need to be very, very, very careful.

But, thirdly, the problem is not just across the seas, with IslamISM; it is also within our civilisation.

For, we are now in a Rules for Radicals world. That term comes from the title of a 1971 book that is often promoted as a tool for empowering oppressed minorities: the community organiser's handbook, in effect. And indeed, it is Saul Alinsky's work that shaped the Chicago school of Community Organisers, from which the current President of the USA has come.

But in fact, Rules for Radicals is nothing of the sort: it is instead the handbook of a self-confessed marxist subversive, a manual of manipulative Agitprop that plays on our legitimate grievances to gain power for the agitator class, so to speak. But, you might think that is a biased summary by an ignorant or hateful right wing zealot. It is not.

Let us hear it directly from Mr Alinsky [HT: Berit Kjos]:
"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10

"The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. ... The real arena is corrupt and bloody." p.24

"The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means... The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be." pp.25-26

"...the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts -- one part in the arena of action where he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations that it really is only a 10 percent difference." p.78

"From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams... only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues.... Until he has those means and power instruments, his 'tactics' are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor Unions, corner gangs, or as individuals." "Change comes from power, and power comes from organization." p.113

"The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns.... All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new." p.116

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.' ... When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments and carry out your attack.... One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angles are on one side and all the devils on the other." pp.127-134
It is worth contrasting this cynical Machiavellianism and unjustifiable sowing of discord with the wise counsel of "the judicious [Richard] Hooker" sought by John Locke in Ecclesiastical Polity, when he -- in Locke's historically pivotal 2nd Essay on Civil Government, ch 2 sect 5 -- set out to ground Liberty under God, laying the foundation for modern Democratic self-government by a free people:
. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man's hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant. [Cf Rom 13:8 - 10, Matt 7:12, Leviticus 19:15 - 18.]
So, "we the sheeple" had better wake up fast and critically analyse what we hear in the media or in the classrooms or from our pulpits or on the streets, assess the quality of the sources we listen to, think and act in our own best, gospel-enlightened interests before it is -- yet once again -- too late, bloodily too late.

Murderously too late.

Or, as Pastor Martin Niemoller of Germany put it, far more eloquently than I ever could:
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
So, will we learn the lessons of all too recent history in our day, or will we be simply doomed to repeat it?
Therefore, let us ask, yet one more time in this blog:
Why not now? Why not here? Why not us? END


UPDATE, Oct 11, 2010: Without giving blanket endorsements to either the explanation of Muslim teachings or Biblical Eschatology, there is a thought-provoking exposition of the Islamic eschatology issues and hadiths, compared with Biblical teachings, by Andre Widodo, here. (Also, note the Al Qaeda video claiming to be the Black Flag army as linked and discussed here. HT: Joel Richardson. {NB: The video itself has been removed, cf. this one here to get the general picture from an IslamIST theological-ideological perspective.})  

To be forewarned regarding key signs of our times, should be to be prepared to rise and meet the challenges. But as Matt 16:2 - 3 warned the religious leaders of Jesus' day: "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." Just so, Christians and Muslims -- I am aware of the linked discussion from Pakistan and what Imran Hosein (originally of Trinidad) stands for -- are invited to prayerfully read Matt 24 and consider the implications of Acts 17:16 - 32 with Isa 52:13 - 53:12, 1 Cor 15:1 - 11, and 2 Peter 1:16 - 19 & 3:3 - 18. [NB: cf. discussion of the deepest hot-button issue, the biblically anchored Shamrock Principle of Tri-unity of the Godhead, here. Also, Fr Zakaria Boutros' site here will be helpful.] We are invited to measure the way we consequently live -- thus, the authenticity of our spirituality -- by 1 Cor 13:1 - 7 and Titus 2:11 - 14 with 2 Peter 1:1 - 11

 It is worth embedding a sampler from Fr Boutros:

Food for thought.

Let us all reflect, repent, seek renewal and transformation through the truth in love, power, purity and faithfulness. 

Grace be to all, and may Our Risen Lord be pleased to grant an appearance to Muslims and others of sincere heart who seek the whole and wholesome truth. AMEN


Majestic Islam said...

I am an honest admirer of Sir Imran Hosein. I believe no one else can explain Dajjal & Modern Civilization better, than he does. May Allah help him to enlighten more & more people

Gordon said...

The above is of course an announcement of a Muslim commenter.

Gordon said...

PS: those needing a bit of orientation on Islam and its theological challenges, could refer here