James Malm keeps saying that the major COG groups teach “that the King of the South would be a more extreme Islamic Caliphate, or Mahdi based Islamic Extremist Confederation.” When I asked him about this on his blog The Shining Light Blog, he answered (in part):
If you would prefer zealot or fundamentalist be my guest, the idea is the same and I will not split hairs over semantics. That is the more extremist faction of Islam who believes in an imminent coming of Mahdi for example Amadinejad is big on preparing the way for the Mahdi.
Well, frankly, I would prefer the term “fundamentalist”, and I don’t think it is a matter of semantics!
Wikipedia in article Mahdi states:
In Shia and Sunni eschatology, the Mahdi (Arabic: مهدي / ISO 233: mahdī / English: Guided One), also Mehdi (Arabic: مہدی English: One of the Moon) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah / literally, the Day of Resurrection) and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.
The nod to Jesus is particularly interesting, as it leads to my main question. After all, fundamentalist Christians believe in a literal return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Does all that mean that fundamentalist Christians are extremists?
You see, words have meaning.
A Caliphate in the Middle East is entirely possible. It certainly is a goal of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups.
But the question is under whom?
The biggest struggle right now in the Middle East is an ongoing and escalating conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. It involves Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, the gulf states and nearly all Muslims beyond the Middle East.
The Sunni/Shiite conflict is the very reason King Abdulah of Saudi Arabia rebuked Obama on abandoning Mubarak. It is also the reason the Egyptian military does not want to lose control of events.
If you want to get a short 18 minute update – check out this excellent video (the one with a map of the Middle East) by a stock trader who keeps his eye on global events like many stock traders do.