Excerpting his remarks:
This issue is so significant that I simply invite you to watch. END
An al-Qaida video just released on YouTube titled "The Mahdi Army" reveals for the first time the deep degree to which al-Qaida views itself to be the prophesied apocalyptic Mahdi army. While this is something I and other observers of Islamic apocalyptic movements have been very suspicious of for years, this video offers the first solid proof that al-Qaida is guided by the end-time apocalyptic prophecies of Islam.
The video is a typical al-Qaida recruitment video released under the al-Sahab label, replete with ninja-esque Islamic mujahedeen soldiers flaunting their military skills. What is new, however, is the multiple references to the Islamic end-time prophecies with al-Qaida featured as the frontline soldiers of the Mahdi.
The video begins with a subtitle of several Islamic sacred traditions called "hadith." One of the first hadiths states that in the last days an army of Islamic soldiers will come from the area of "Khorasan" and will march forth to Jerusalem to conquer the land of Israel for the Islamic Mahdi. Khorasan straddles the border of Iran and Afghanistan where al-Qaida is presently still very active.Featured prominently throughout the film is the imagery and motif of black flags . . . .
According to Islamic sacred tradition, when any Muslim sees the Islamic armies carrying the black flags from Khorasan toward Israel, they are religiously obligated to pledge their allegiance to the army and its leader. This pledge is called the bay'ah. Then the words appear: "That army has already arisen and answered the call to defend Islam."
A Muslim preacher named Imran Hussein Nazir appears giving a sermon in which he states the following:The Messiah will destroy the false Messiah. And when that happens, then a Muslim army will liberate the Holy Land. The prophet said, "When you see the black flags coming from the direction of Khorasan, go join their army. That army has already started to be established. They know it. And that is why they demonize as a terrorist anyone who supports Allah. That army will liberate every single territory in a straight line, until it reaches Jerusalem. And the heart of Khorasan is Afghanistan. That is why we have occupied Afghanistan. When this army liberates every territory on its way to Jerusalem, there will be in that army, Imam Mahdi. And so the liberation of the Holy Land is not going to come about through any negotiations. …" . . . .The revelation that al-Qaida is so strikingly apocalyptic in their worldview is a powerfully relevant factor, whether one is a believer in the Bible or not. As Dr. David Cook of Rice University once rightly stated, "There is power in apocalyptic." Much attention has been paid to the apocalyptic vision of the Iranians, but now it is clear that the problem is far more endemic than we had previously known. Believer or unbeliever, skeptical or not, none can deny that we live in desperate and very interesting times.
UPDATE/ADDENDUM, Sept 16: In ch 4 of an online book Will Islam be our Future?, Joel Richardson places the rise of the Mahdi in context:
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 reconquer 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. [This is similar to the message of a Christmas 2006 Iranian Government press release, as previously discussed here.]Dr Patrick Sookhdeo of Guyana and of the Barnabas Fund, adds in his own summary, that:
“Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth as a Muslim, will marry and have children, then die and be buried near Muhammad. Some traditions assert that at this second coming He will destroy every cross, kill all Jews, convert the Christians to Islam, and reign as king of all Muslims.”The Iranian Governmnet Christmas 2006 news release gives a fuller ideological framework, with particular reference to the Islamic version of an eschatological Prophet Isa, intended to be a "corrected" view on Jesus of the NT:
In today's world, science and technology have helped human societies to achieve many of the amenities. But mankind has not yet been able to eliminate poverty and remove the unequal distribution of income in the society, because of the unjust world order imposed by the so-called big powers, which by monopolizing science and technology terrorize weaker nations and plunder their wealth and natural resources. The cold and calculating domineering powers impose on the weaker nations, the methods of production, consumption and technology that are to the benefit of capitalists. In the weird system of today’s powerful counties, moral and spiritual values have no place and are seen as undesirable liabilities that prevent these powers from reaching economic welfare and what they call true prosperity. However, the exploitation of the weak, the unjust system of distribution and denial of the rights of nations, 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. The main issue in his global government is carrying out social justice and one of the main products of social justice is a highly developed economy that leads to the blossoming of moral and spiritual values as emphasized by the dynamic teachings of Islam. [The recent discussion here will show how the idealised "Islamic justice" envisioned by the Iranian Government -- which has just stolen an election that apparently did not go the "right" way -- too often works out on the ground.]That is, apocalyptic, Mahdist forms of Islamism clearly provide a religious motivation for a global conquest agenda in the name of Allah. (As discussed here in a Jan 2007 blog post on Wehner's analysis of the ongoing global ideological and religious-spiritual conflict over the rise of islamism, Bin Laden was not previously associated with such an explicit statement [Islamism inherently appeals to the themes of subjugation of dar ul Harb under Allah, his prophet and law, through his warriors; which have ample Quranic, hadith and historical support in the founding era of Islam as a global force], but now Al Qaeda is recruiting in light of just such explicitly global conquest end-times themes.)
And, we all need to be alert to that.
PS: I try to embed: