Daniel Pipes not renominated to USIP

This is a huge victory for American muslim interests:

President Bush has failed to take any action to renominate Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace.

Bush appointed Pipes, a conservative Middle East analyst and syndicated columnist who has drawn the ire of some Muslims, to the publicly funded institution on August 23, 2003, after a Senate hearing on the matter ended without the presence of a quorum necessary for a confirmation vote. The controversial recess appointment ended in early December with the closing of the previous Congress. The institute has removed Pipes's name from the list of board of directors posted on its Web site.

Pipes told the Forward that he has not asked to be renominated by the president and that he had not queried the White House about its intentions. [...] Pipes said that he "tried to be helpful to the USIP," but he acknowledged that "at certain times I was frustrated."

The nomination of Pipes, who has made a career out of identifying and denouncing what he sees as radical Muslim penetration of American institutions, was opposed by senators Edward Kennedy, Tom Harkin and Christopher Dodd, all Democrats; Arab and Muslim groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations as well as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Middle East analysts Judith Kipper of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and William Quandt of the University of Virginia. Many conservative-leaning newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and The New York Sun, supported it. Several Jewish communal agencies, including the American Jewish Committee and the Zionist Organization of America, supported Pipes.
Pipes did not have a peaceful tenure at the institute, which was created by Congress "to support the development, transmission, and use of knowledge to promote peace and curb violent international conflict," according to USIP's mission statement. Last March, he clashed with the organization, lambasting it in his column for hosting a conference with a group, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, that Pipes charged employs personnel who are Muslim "radicals."

The institute's director of congressional and public affairs, Kay King, responded to the criticism in a letter that Pipes posted to his Web site, danielpipes.org.

"The Institute was aware of and took seriously the accusations made against CSID and some of the speakers at the event," King wrote. "These allegations were investigated carefully with credible private individuals and U.S. government agencies and found to be without merit. The public criticism of CSID and the speakers was found to be based on quotes taken out of context, guilt by association, errors of fact, and innuendo."

(go to bugmenot for login access to the full article)

Kudos to President Bush for recognizing that Pipes was an affront to the stated goals of the USIP. The damage, however, has been done - notably with the denial of entry to Tariq Ramadan, against whom Pipes led a successful jihad to paint as an extremist, despite his moderate views of assimilation and unity of muslims with their adopted western homelands.

Note that The Forward paints the decision as "an apparent victory for radical Muslims and the left wing of the American foreign policy establishment," but that is of course their singular perspective from the extreme right Likud flank of Jewish politics. I would be interested to know if teh Forward shares Pipes' view of Tariq Ramadan as an extremist - if so, you can safely conclude that the Forward has more interest in opposing muslims in general rather than any promotion of a moderate muslim mainstream.


Joshua Scholar said...

A couple of things on this favorite subject of ours that you might find interesting.

Dr Pipes on his questions: Nov. 17, 2004 update: A Muslim academic specialist on Islam informs me that there is a test the other way around. "One of the first questions in determining the modern �orthodoxy' of a Muslim scholar," he writes, "seems to circulate around Daniel Pipes. � If a Muslim does not stand against Daniel Pipes, s/he must be a bad Muslim." The question asked is direct and crude: "What do you think of Daniel Pipes and his stance against Muslims?"I mentioned this on your previous site but did not have a link:

An analysis of Tariq Ramadan's writings in arabic that proposes that Mr. Ramadan deliberately winks at violent Islamists by his choice of words. The claim is that Mr. Ramada uses the term "Dar al-Shahada" when referring to non-Islamic lands and uses the word "Shahadah" and "Shahid" in ambiguous contexts that prudent writers avoid.

http://www.e-prism.org/images/tariqfinal291203.docIf you don't like downloading .doc files or don't have Microsoft word, you can read the google cache html translation of the paper.

I'm not sure how long google links are good for so I'll give you a title and a link:Some Notes on Arabic Terminology as a Link Between Tariq Ramadan and Sheikh Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Founder of the Doctrine of "Muslim Minority Jurisprudence" (Fiqh al-Aqaliyyat al-Muslimah) By SHAMMAI FISHMAN*

Joshua Scholar said...

Blogger swallows carrage returns after html tags but doesn't allow the paragraph tag. That's annoying.

Aziz Poonawalla said...

ok, Joshua, I'll reply directly to you since you've made your points succinctly and with zero bile.

1. Pipes refers to a "Muslim academic specialist on Islam" for his anecdote about an opinion of Pipes being a litmust test for a muslim's "goodness". That is utter nonsense. Given Pipes' history of deliberate misrepresentation of sources, he has no credibility. TO be honest, I find the suggestion breathtakingly egotistical. Why would any muslim define faith according to Pipes of all things? Faith is adherence to religion. There is no reference to Pipes in the QUr'an, hadith, sunna etc.

The reason I am opposed to Pipes is because I believe his agenda is to curtail civil liberties for law-abiding muslims. He justifies that agenda despite evidence to the contrary, that American muslims are loyal to their nation. Rather than engage the muslim community as a partner in guarding against extremism, he lumps us all in as one, and this makes the end goal (which we all share) of vigilance against hate to be more difficult. Pipes is a short sighted polemicist whose agenda is fundamentally at odds with the *political and civil* self-interest of muslim-americans. This is why muslim-americans oppose him. It has nothing to do with religion.

2. Tariq Ramadan's use of the word Shahid is correct. In that context,it means to "bear witness to" and the Shahadah is the true name for the oath-phrase, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His Prophet". This has nothing to do with shahEED which means martyr. A cursory knowledge of Arabic reveaals that the difference between these words - shahid and shaheed - is both obvious and elementary. The argument that there are hidden code words in TR's words is frankly hilarious; it's something you'd expect a child to cget confused by, not anyone who claims authority enough on the Arabic language to translate it. The only possible conclusion is that the translator trying to pin the charge of "secret jihadi agendas" onto TR is nothing more than a polemicist.

My challenge to you, Joshua, is whether you are capable of ever accepting a non-malevolent subtext to any action by a muslim. Your reaction to Scott Martens piece, which is devastating and grounded in simple logic and a basic knowledge of French, is something I am curious to hear.

And if you'd start your own blog, youd find that I am more interested in dialog with you. As a gadfly in my comments, you are essentially imposing on my turf. If you blog (and you've already registered with Blogger just to blog here, after all), then you have the freedom to discourse as you see fit on your own rules. I have enabled trackback and I will not delete pings from you should you choose to avail yourself of them.

Joshua Scholar said...

"My challenge to you, Joshua, is whether you are capable of ever accepting a non-malevolent subtext to any action by a Muslim. Your reaction to Scott Martens piece, which is devastating and grounded in simple logic and a basic knowledge of French, is something I am curious to hear."

In truth, very little of what I've read about Tariq qualifies as strong evidence one way or the other. I don't read French so I certainly can't credit Mr. Martens' piece as "devastating" any more than I can credit Mr. Fishman's piece as "devastating", in either case I�d just be taking someone�s word. In any event, if Mr. Tariq had wished to support violent Islamists, it would not be surprising if he did his best to deny such sympathies in public - so even taken at face value the article isn't convincing. I'm not going to reread that article today, but I remember thinking that the author was trying way too hard and was convicing me of his anger not his objectivity.

So Tariq's largely a blank slate to me. I haven't been convinced by either side, though I have to admit that I�m very suspicious of your judgment � calling Martins' piece "devastating" is another example of the exaggeration in your favor that I�ve come to expect from you whenever you mention or link to an article.

I'm sure the department of homeland security's reasons for excluding Mr. Ramadan had nothing to do with statements that we�ve been reading so in that direction lies a dead end too... In any event I believe that no foreigner has an a priori right to live in the United States � I've always been aware that the constitution only gives rights to American citizens, so it would be hard to convince me that keeping a man out of this country in order to make it marginally safer is a terrible injustice.

In truth the most damning thing I've read about Ramadan that I can judge for myself is that he has apparently given his blessing to jihadis in Kashmir. How can that meaningless slaughter be justified?

I would think the same for support for the backward struggle in Palestine (which Mr. Ramadan also supports), but I�ve come to accept that it's impossible to even talk about Israel with Muslims, let alone expect them to understand that the struggle there does Palestinians infinitely more harm than good.

As for the question of there being a �non-malevolent subtext� my problem is not that I have to assume a malevolent subtext, but that I can�t tell whether it�s there or not. If a Muslim would have the balls to stand up against the ever-so-common bad judgement and ill will against Israelis for instance, then at least I would know that he's willing to stand against the Islamists... But Ramadan, perhaps like a Muslim Bill Clinton, wants to be loved by all Muslims and seems to avoid the stance that would draw an indelible line.

By the way I joined Blogger before I �blogged here�.

My challenge to you has always been - can we honestly debate the war in Israel and agree on the facts and the dynamics or will all pronouncements on that subject be based in lies and prejudices?

Joshua Scholar said...

By the way, I once mentioned on your last site that I tried to post my displeasure with two Mr. Pipes' articles calling for giving up on democracy in Iraq.. He declined to allow either of my posts on his site, though he did allow an earlier post of mine when I agreed with him that Saudi money is dangerous to OUR democracy...

I also disagree with Mr. Pipes bald assertion that academics should strive to support our government - that is why I once called him (in a post you linked to) "a right wing asshole."

I defend him because I see lots of evidence that he's right on two important points:
1. that Islamism is a popular and violent movement that makes our civilization the enemy
2. that achedemia is full of apologists for all kinds of fascism in the middle east - both secular and fundimentalist. And often enough there's support for and dishonest cover given to the violence of the Islamists.

My first post on this site about Pipes mentioned his estimate that 10% of Muslims world wide support the Islamists. You mocked that assertion, but I have since read suggestions even by Muslims (a liberal Muslim professor - I'll have to see if I can find his name) who suggested a much higher percentage. He saw an internal war among Muslims, islamist vs. modernist as fully encompassing 50% of Muslims supporting Islamists against the other 50%. From the evidence I see, I certainly can't laugh at Mr. Pipes estimate as rediculous anyways.

Joshua Scholar said...

Well I found verification of your reading of the word "Shahada" in this article "was Winnie-the-Pooh a MuslimThere's proof I read deep theological articles.

Andrew said...


You know, I might be inclined to give Pipes a little bit of credence on his insistence that there is essentially no such thing as a moderate Muslim. Perhaps he is the case of the lone brave man unafraid to speak the truth to power.


The other day, I found myself directed to an op-ed by Pipes (http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2076) on how to respond to hostage taking in Iraq. He contrasted the Nepalese pogroms that broke out with France's attempt to use diplomacy to free its own people. Now then, while he twice says that the attacks were not exactly the right thing to do, he writes in a manner that indicates that he admires the Nepalese rioters.

If you were to hold Pipes to the standards that he holds Muslims to, that editorial of his would indicate that he essentially has the idea that Muslims are a fungible commodity.

Josh, there are lots of problems with fundamentalist Islam. People should be paying attention to some of its nastier undercurrents. But a man who says words to the effect of, "I don't *support* anti-Muslim rioters, but I *understand* them [wink, wink]" is not the man to do so.

The above mentioned article is also kind of informative in that Pipes approvingly cites Bat Ye'or, who has written at length that since 1973 the governments of Europe have been engaged in a sinister plot to turn their countries over to the rulership of the Islamic world. I'm sorry, but anyone who believes that a bunch of poor migrant workers living in European ghettoes are part of a vast and sinister conspiracy (a pre-meditated consipracy that has been in the works for several decades, no less) for the governments of Europe to surrender to Islam is completely unhinged.

Summation: Daniel Pipes is completely unhinged, and at this point no thinking person would trust him to report on the Anglican Communion.

Joshua Scholar said...

Andrew I can't help but notice an ironic parallel between me and Aziz.

In his previous post, Aziz takes the position that no matter how flawed the leaders of CAIR are, their work is needed and so CAIR must be supported. And in these posting I'm taking the position that no matter how flawed Daniel Pipes is, his work is needed and so must be supported.

I won't go any further into this arguement since Aziz takes an exception to my "blogging" on his site.

One more thing, though. You brought up Pipe's article 2076... Given the nature of Jihad where fresh-faced young thugs show up at every fight that's reputed to be a Jihad, whether in Iraq, Kashmir or Palestine. And these kids, being Saudi, Egyptian or even British, just don't care that the local civilians may not want them stiring up trouble fighting people they no nothing about... Tell me, given this horrible dynamic, WHAT CAN we do to that will actually discourage such unconnected unwanted thugs?

Joshua Scholar said...

By the way I want to make it clear that I don't support Pipe's arguement or article, but rather that I see the frustration behind it. It's frustrating that Jihadis care about no one and nothing.