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(Denver, Colorado) — Last week in Manhattan, I sat down for an interview with Billy Hallowell, senior editor of Faithwire.com. It was a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation and one I enjoyed a great deal.
Among the topics we discussed:
- Why are Israelis cautiously optimistic about the incoming Trump-Pence administration?
- What are the major threats facing the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East in the coming years?
- Why is it important for the next President to educate the American people about the differences between Islam, Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islam, and to be careful and nuanced in the discussion?
- Why have I written a series of political thrillers — The Third Target, The First Hostage and the forthcoming novel, Without Warning — about the Islamic State, their genocidal brand of End Times theology, and their bloodthirsty drive to destroy Judeo-Christian society and establish a global caliphate?
- What are some of the differences between Biblical eschatology and Islamic eschatology?
Here’s the article Hallowell just posted on our interview — and the podcast of our full discussion (it runs about 41 minutes):
Author Breaks Down Difference Between ‘Radical’ and ‘Apocalyptic’ Islam — and Israel’s Future Under Trump
By Billy Hallowell, Faithwire, December 16, 2016
Author Joel Rosenberg recently dropped by the Faithwire newsroom to talk about a wide array of subjects, including radical Islam, president-elect Donald Trump’s stunning victory — and Israel’s relationship with the United States.
Among the points of discussion, Rosenberg — author of the soon-to-release novel “Without Warning” — broke down some of the important differences he sees between radical and apocalyptic Islam, and discussed how Israelis have responded to Trump’s shocking presidential win against Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
“Radical Islam is the movement that says, ‘We will use force … to drive the infidels, mainly Judeo-Christian society, out of the regions that we call holy lands and holy places,’” Rosenberg explained, citing Al Qaeda, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban as some of the groups that subscribe to the ideology.
He continued, “A subset of radical Islam (called apocalyptic Islam) says, ‘We’re not just trying to use violence to drive infidels out of our region; we’re going to use violence to eradicate infidels.”
Rosenberg said adherents of apocalyptic Islam see no place for infidels in the world, believing a messiah will soon come to set up a global Islamic kingdom.
The author explained how both Iran and the Islamic State both subscribe to this latter ideology, though there are some important differences between the two parties.
To begin, Rosenberg said Iran is governed by leaders who are Shia Muslim and who “believe a very minority position on Islamic eschatology.”
“They are trying to bring about the end of days. They believe the Messiah — the Mahdi — is coming at any moment and that their job is to set into motion the conditions of chaos and carnage into which this so-called Messiah will one day come, set up his kingdom or caliphate and rule the world,” he said.
These leaders, he said, believe they can “hasten the coming” of the Messiah, also known as the Twelfth Imam; he also noted that Iran has focused on a long-term goal of building up its nuclear industry to create long-range missiles for a “global-termo nuclear holy war.”
The Islamic State, though, is quite different, according to Rosenberg. Unlike Iranian leaders, the terror group is Sunni and has a bit of a different take on eschatology. While adherents believe it’s possible to accelerate the end times, they don’t agree with Iran that “you have to wait until you build nuclear weapons,” according to Rosenberg.
“(The Islamic State thinks) if you have a sword and an AK-47, you can committ genocide today — you don’t have to wait for nuclear weapons,” he said, adding how they believe they can create conditions to trigger the arrival of the Mahdi.
Rosenberg called the situation involving Iran and the Islamic State concerning, considering it’s purportedly the first time in history the world has seen two people groups attempting to bring about the end times.
The author, who moved with his family from the U.S. to Israel in 2014, also discussed the recent U.S. presidential election, saying his fellow Israeli citizens watched it quite closely, as its “impact on the U.S.-Israel relationship was going to be enormous,” especially considering the fact that the relationship has been strained in recent years.
“We’re a small country and America’s a super power, and we live in a very dangerous neighborhood,” Rosenberg said, citing Christian slaughter in the Middle East, Iran’s purported quest for nuclear weapons and other problems in the region.
And much like the rest of the world, Israelis were apparently in shock the Wednesday after Election Day, as outlets like the New York Times, among others, diminished the chances of Trump securing the presidency. Overall, Rosenberg said there’s a cautious optimism in the wake of Trump’s win — one that is based on a few important issues.
“One thing has been consistent: (Trump) has talked about radical Islam … and has taunted both Hillary and Barack Obama, (saying), ‘You won’t even say it, you won’t ackowledge it, you don’t look at their ideology,’” he said in reference to Clinton and Obama and their refusal, at moments, to use terms like “radical Islam.”
Rosenberg continued, “That has cut through. People see that he is talking about it.”
While the author believes Trump has struck a chord with such rhetoric, he believes it would be beneficial to dial some of his comments back, as there are Sunni-Muslim Arab allies like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Listen to the full interview.