HE SHALL be tall, with a bulging forehead and nose, a mole on the right cheek, shall rise from Arabia, shall be called from a cave and withstand attacks in the dessert.

So says Muslim sayings on the coming “Mahdi,” or the “Guided One,” who shall beat the “infidels” at the end of time.

Meet Osama bin Laden. He is tall, has a broad forehead, jutting nose, a black mole on the right cheek, hails from Saudi Arabia, received his “calling” from a cave in Afghanistan, and has survived his chasers (news of his death are reportedly goof).

To some, the search for the mahdi idol is over. Bin Laden himself thinks so, and signs his name as “Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden.”

Although not a cleric, Bin Laden makes up his own fatwas (religious edicts), skirting rules. Clerics from Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, and the Islamic Commission of Spain thus issued a fatwa against Bin Laden in 2005, tagging him as “apostate.”

But an earlier fatwa by Sheik Nasir bin Hamid al Fahd, imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, gave Bin Laden the green light to nuke 10 million people. Bin Laden bought 20 nukes from the Russian KGB back in 1998, the US Congressional Task Force on Non-Conventional Terrorism found out. Whether Bin Laden is dead, Bin Ladenism remains a threat. People die, ideas hardly!

Violence in the name of religion—or in the name of anti-religion—has always been there. But the go-signal to kill 10 million is unprecedented. It needs immediate check, not peace doves, on (mis)thoughts on divinity.

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Philets and the philosopher's stone

It is here that Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address matters to any civilized society that values life, freedom of speech and religion.

The academic paper diagnoses Europe’s woes from secluding faith for its “reductivist reason”; and warns against renouncing reason for “faith.” In both closed policies, cultures cannot meet.

Benedict’s much-hyped quote in his address was from the 14th-century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

The emperor told this to a Persian when his empire was under siege by the Muslims, thus his query on “the truth of both” Christianity and Islam. By saying “truth of both,” the truth of Islam is granted, and the emperor was daring, “show me.” Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire said something similar, “Show me the money.”

Churches were razed down even before the whole text was translated into Arabic (as BBC kept flashing in Arabic only the controversial quote). Al-Qaeda raged: “We will smash the cross…you will have no choice but Islam or death.”

The terrorists’ response only affirmed the Pope’s point on forced conversions. (Show me just what Benedict brought up that was not true).

Benedict’s choice of Paleologus’ circumstance is foretelling, too. Is Europe nearing its end?

Demographics-wise, yes, with its birth dearth and high suicide counts. Europe, says Benedict, has lost its Christian roots, and is under cultural siege. The European Parliament’s recent support for Benedict is a leap of faith to take his wake-up call seriously.

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UST says it can only do so much

For any culture to survive, you have to rally equally procreative citizens with strong moral will as do the “enemy’s.” Thus in UN conferences, you have the Vatican, Catholic and Muslim countries, and (surprise!) the United States under George W. Bush brushing elbows versus universal legalization of abortion, population control, and same-sex trysts.

Bin Laden hates the “truce,” saying, “Those who claim to be Arab leaders and whose countries are UN members are infidels who renounced the Koran when they resorted to international legitimacy instead.”

Since Bin Laden blackmails and kills fellow Muslims, he cannot be the promised mahdi. Jesus is also prophecied to return before the mahdi comes to bind treaties with the “Roman Christians.” But these events are not in Bin Laden’s cards so he could not be the mahdi. He could well be “the Maddy One.”

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