As a Senate committee prepares to meet today to discuss the nomination of Dr. Pipes to the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its allies are working to turn the hearings into a lynching party of Borkian proportions.
But why? You would think that CAIR would count a man who maintains, as Pipes does, that "militant Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution" as a friend and ally. After all, isn't CAIR a moderate Muslim group, a civil rights advocacy group in the grand American tradition? Hasn't CAIR run full-page ads in the Times proclaiming the patriotism of American Muslims and the dubious Islamic bona fides of Muslim terrorists?
Why then is CAIR out to destroy Pipes, who for years has devoted his considerable energy and intellect to the exposure and discrediting of the radical Islam that CAIR professes to abhor?
Could it be because of the disturbing indications that CAIR isn't as moderate, straight-laced and patriotic as it presents itself to be? Former CAIR communications specialist Ismail Royer was recently arrested for his role in a terrorist "Virginia jihad network." Royer's indictment charges that he stockpiled arms and planned "to prepare for and engage in violent jihad on behalf of Muslims in Kashmir, Chechnya, the Philippines and other countries and territories, against countries, governments, military forces and peoples that the defendants and their conspirators believed to be enemies of Islam."
Nor is Royer the first CAIR associate to be arrested on suspicions of aiding terrorism. CAIR's former community affairs director, Bassem K. Khafagi, was apprehended in January on suspicion of aiding terrorist groups.
But the response of CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper to these and other blots on CAIR's moderate image is the classic tactic of the intellectually bankrupt: instead of explaining how these men and others advanced in CAIR despite their extremist views, and assuring non-Muslim Americans that CAIR is not a terrorist hotbed, Hooper simply heaps abuse on those who dare to question the depth of CAIR's commitment to moderate Islam. In that spirit, CAIR is now trying to lynch Daniel Pipes.
The lynching this week takes the form of a full-force media blitz, exhorting CAIR's supporters to inundate the Senate with anti-Pipes messages. The press release that contained this exhortation is a masterpiece of half-truth and distortion. For anyone (especially Senators) who may be still on the fence regarding Pipes, it is useful to examine these half-truths in detail.
Pipes, according to CAIR:
• "Supports the unrestricted profiling of Muslims and Arabs."
CAIR would evidently have us ignore the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were all Muslims, motivated by Islamic concepts. Says Pipes: "Had religious and ethnic profiling been in place on September 11, it is very unlikely that 19 Arabic-speaking Muslims would have made it on board with their box-cutters. More broadly, as a passenger on an airplane, don't you want law enforcement to use whatever statistical methods it has to figure out who is most likely to make trouble aboard? If last-minute ticket purchasers who use cash fit the category, should they not be scrutinized more than others? The same logic applies to 20-year-olds and men; regrettably, it also applies to Middle Easterners and to Muslims."
• "Refuses to condemn the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II."
When asked on a radio show about the internment of Japanese Americans, Pipes responded: "It's not a subject I know enough about to talk about." Excoriated for this by Hooper, Pipes stood his ground. "That is true, I am a historian. I just don't generally give opinions on things I haven't studied. I'm not in a position to give an opinion. I'm not a politician." To conclude from this that Pipes supports that internment, or, presumably, the internment of Muslims today, is argument by cheap shot.
• "Suggested that Israel ‘raze' Palestinian villages."
Pipes's exact words? "Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched." This is not a call to victimize innocent civilians, but to stop those who use civilian areas as launching sites for terrorist activity.
• "Claims 10 to 15 percent of all Muslims are ‘potential killers.'"
This is extrapolated from Pipes' observations that all Islamists are potential killers, and that 10 to 15 percent of all Muslims are Islamists. In view of Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's contention that 80 percent of American mosques are controlled by extremists, Pipes's may be a conservative estimate. In any case, once again CAIR, instead of joining Pipes in combating these radical elements, which undeniably exist within Islam, shoots the messenger.
• "Opposes President Bush's repeated statements that Islam is a religion of peace."
Said the Ayatollah Khomeini: "Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur'anic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim."
I suppose he was an "Islamophobe" too, along with the multitudes in Islamic terrorist groups around the globe today.
• "Opposes the president's "road map" to peace in the Middle East."
The jury is still out on the "road map," although there are numerous indications already that it is, like its predecessors, an abysmal failure. What accord can succeed in that unhappy region when significant forces are committed to a jihad ideology that will accept nothing less than the utter annihilation of their foe? To equate Pipes's opposition to the "road map," if indeed he really opposes it, with opposition to peace in the Middle East, is nakedly dishonest.
• "Espouses a theory of conflict resolution that rests on the assumption that peace is achieved only by one side defeating the other with military force, and only rarely through reconciliation or negotiation."
In a February 2003 piece in Commentary, Pipes also says that although the Oslo accord failed, "in principle, something along the lines of the Oslo agreement could turn out to be workable."
• "Fails to meet the USIP requirement that board members ‘have appropriate practical or academic experience in peace and conflict resolution.'"
If "peace and conflict resolution" equal appeasement and surrender, then this one is right on the money.
• "Decries any positive portrayal of Islamic history and beliefs in public schools."
Pipes has indeed spoken out against multiculturalist whitewashes of Islam that prevail in our schools today. But is he against "any positive portrayal" of Islam? "Learning about Islam," Pipes wrote in 2002, "is a wonderful thing; I personally have spent more than thirty years studying this rich subject. But students, especially in public schools, should approach Islam in a critical fashion — learning the bad as well as the good, the archaic as well as the modern. They should approach it from the outside, not as believers, precisely as they do with every other religion." For this CAIR calls him an Islamophobe?
• "Termed the PBS documentary ‘Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet' an ‘outrage.'"
Well, it was an outrage. CAIR seems to think that endorsing Islamic religious propaganda should be a prerequisite for office. Here's Pipes on the main problem with the documentary: "The U.S. government should never fund a documentary whose obvious intent is to glorify a religion and proselytize for it. Doing so flies in the face of American tradition and law."
• "Stated: ‘I worry very much from the Jewish point of view that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews.' Pipes defended criticism of that quote by saying: ‘I make the same point respectively to audiences of women, gays, civil libertarians, Hindus, Evangelical Christians, atheists, and scholars of Islam, among others, all of whom face "true dangers" as the number of Muslims increases.'"
In this, Pipes was actually referring to Muslim radicals and the Nation of Islam. But anyway, why worry? Since 9/11 over twenty suspected al-Qaeda cell members have been arrested around the nation; more than 100 other Muslims have confessed to or been found guilty of various terrorist activities. Muslim preachers around the Middle East continue to spew bloody invective against Jews in particular. Nihad Awad of CAIR has declared his support for Hamas, which has been terrorizing Israeli civilians with suicide bombers for some time. CAIR doesn't explain why all this is nothing to be concerned about: we're supposed to accept on blind faith that each case of terrorism is isolated, condemned by the vast majority of Muslims. But what is CAIR doing to eradicate the seeds of terrorism from the American Muslim community?
• "Launched Campus Watch, a web site that included ‘dossiers' on professors and academic institutions thought to be too critical of Israel or too sympathetic to Islam and Muslims."
One of Campus Watch's chief contributions is its documentation of American academics who portray "militant Islam as a benign movement and suggesting that anyone who thought otherwise is either ignorant or prejudiced." Shouldn't CAIR be fighting against any tendencies to portray militant Islam as benign?
• "Said: ‘Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches, synagogues and temples.'"
It is an unpleasant fact that terrorist cells have been uncovered in mosques, not in churches or synagogues, and that there is a widespread movement within Islam, but not in contemporary Judaism or Christianity, that justifies violence in the name of the religion. Such monitoring is also important in order to protect Muslim moderates. If the members of al-Farooq mosque, a source of funding for al-Qaeda, were shocked when they discovered that their money was going to Osama bin Laden, isn't it important to enforce existing law to ensure that their money doesn't go to al-Qaeda again? And if they were not shocked, shouldn't American law enforcement know that, as the New York Post put it, "a jihad grows in Brooklyn"? Monitoring mosques will establish that most American Muslims are law-abiding citizens — something that CAIR and Muslim advocacy groups have failed to establish by their own questionable rhetoric. As such, monitoring mosques is in the best interests of American Muslims themselves.
• "Said: ‘The Palestinians are a miserable people...and they deserve to be.'"
Pipes: "I never said anything along the lines of ‘The Palestinians are a miserable people …and they deserve to be.' That's not how I think, speak, or write. . . . In brief, far from thinking the Palestinians a miserable people, I call attention to their dignity and talent, then propose how to liberate them from their demons so they can build a civil society and decent lives."
• "Claims Muslims have no real religious attachments to the city of Jerusalem."
Pipes wrote in the New Republic in 1997: "Jerusalem is not the place to which Muslims pray. It is not directly connected to any events in Muhammad's life. And it is not even mentioned by name in the Koran. The city never became a cultural center or served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state. Jerusalem has mattered to Muslims only intermittently over the past thirteen centuries, and when it has mattered, as it does today, it has been because of politics."
All this is undeniably true. Does pointing it out disqualify one for a place in the Institute of Peace?
• "Claims to have a special mental ‘filter' with which he can detect those who want to ‘create a Muslim state in America.'"
Now the lynch mob lights its torches. A mental filter, eh? So Pipes is not only evil, but crazy, too? Not quite. In an interview with Salon.com, Pipes said: "Look, I have a filter. I've studied Islam and Islamism for 30 years. I have a sense of how they proceed and what their agenda is like. And I see it. You don't. You haven't spent the time. Most Americans haven't. So what I think I can do that's of value is say, 'Look, I recognize this pattern, I've seen it before in Indonesia, in Iran. And now I see it here.'" To suggest that this appeal to his expertise is equivalent to saying he hears little voices in his head is a flagrant smear.
• Compares American Muslim voter registration drives to those of the Communist Party USA.
Once again, Pipes was speaking of radicals: "I fail to see how conducting voter registration drives implies the Islamists are not ‘bad.' The CPUSA [Communist Party USA] also staged registration drives, and for similar reasons" (MSANEWS, 8/18/99). He stands by the analogy, and certainly both Muslim radicals and Communists have amply established that they participate in democratic processes in the spirit of "one man, one vote, one time."
• Said: ‘As the population of Muslims in the United States grows, so does anti-Semitism,' and ‘black converts [to Islam] tend to hold vehemently anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attitudes.'"
Pipes: "Some proof is needed? Louis Farrakhan, perhaps the leading anti-Semite in the United States, has called Judaism a ‘gutter religion' (The New York Times, June 29, 1984) and described Adolf Hitler as a ‘very great man' (radio broadcast, March 11, 1984). In an infamous speech at Kean College in November 1993, Farrakhan's deputy spewed out a mind-boggling series of statements about Jews. The Nation of Islam sells the Protocols of the Elders of Zion at its events. And the organization has even done original ‘scholarship' of its own, putting together a volume in 1991 called The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews that purports to show that Jews were primarily responsible for the enslavement of blacks and their transport to America. And so on and on."
• "Recommend that ‘vigilant application of social and political pressure to ensure that Islam is not accorded special status of any kind in this country.'"
CAIR seems unaware that no religion enjoys special status of any kind in this country.
• "Said: ‘What we need to do is snarl, not be nice. What we need to do is inspire fear, not affection."
This was a post-9/11 statement referring to the war on terror. Maybe CAIR could explain how to fight terrorism while being nice.
• "Supports Mujahedeen-e Khalq, a group designated as terrorist by the State Department."
Ah, so on top of everything else, the wicked Pipes also supports terrorism, eh? Wrong again. He wrote in the New York Post in May: "Is the MEK a terrorist group? No. It used terrorism decades ago, when its members attacked Americans. For the last 15 years, however, the MEK has been organized as an army, and its only violent actions have been directed against the Iranian regime. Unlike Hezbollah (which targets Jewish community centers and shoots rockets into civilian areas), the MEK attacks specific regime targets. Unlike the PLO (whose leaders were terrorists more recently and arguably still are), the MEK really has foresworn this barbaric tactic."
Several weeks ago I wrote an article about CAIR's attack on Pipes called "Dr. Daniel Pipes and His Critics." But this kind of distortion and misrepresentation isn't worthy to be called criticism. It's a lynch mob. God help us if it prevails in the Senate. Before it's too late, call your Senator now.