Defending Grover Norquist

Daniel Pipes, whohas been the subject of my critiques before, now asks whether Grover Norquist is an Islamist. The rationale for Pipe's musing?

He married a muslim! (strike one)
He married a Palestinian Muslim! (strike two)
He thinks questions about his religion are out of bounds! (strike three!)

That last is especially galling. Pipes asks what Norquist has to hide by refusing to answer - the McCarthy-esque overtones of the implication that Norquist's religion is relevant are apparently lost on him, which is ironic given that freedom of religion is one of the things Pipes castigates muslims for supposedly not respecting (clue: read Qur'an 2:256).

Where Pipes' argument really goes off the rails is here:

[Norquist's Palestinian wife] has radical Islamic credentials of her own; she served as communications director at the Islamic Free Market Institute, the Islamist organization Norquist helped found. Now, she is employed as a public affairs officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development � and so it appears that yet another Islamist finds employment in a branch of the U.S. government.

Now, observe the chain of "logic" here. Pipes starts by asking if Norquist is an Islamist. As evidence, he says his wife served as communications direcor for an organization that Norquist helped to found. Pipes casually refers to the organization as an Islamist one; therefore his wife has "radical Islamic credentials" and therefore Norquist is suspect for having married her and for founding the organization in the first place. Why would Norquist be involved? According to Pipes, his goal is "enabling the Islamist causes".

It is no surprise that Pipes links to a smear job against Norquist by Frank Gaffney, entitled "Agent of Influence". The article was published in David Horowitz's FrontPageMag site, which is also host to the "Discover the Network" project (I won't link to it, find it yourself) which purports to untangle the web of connections between Islamists and the political Left.

Given that Norquist is an ultra-conservative Republicanist who wants to "drag government into a bathtub and strangle it", there's certainly plenty of irony to go around. Let's play Discover the Network, shall we? I may have to begin a series questioning whether Daniel Pipes is an Islamist...

BTW, Razib pointed me to this story at Pipe's blog. Razib speculates that Norquist may have taken the shahada (declaration of faith) in a pro-forma manner to satisfy his wife's religious constraint about marrying outside the faith; I find this rather unlikely, because the shahada has no meaning if it is insincere. Its not clear to me what purpose such an act would serve, in appeasing anyone hard-core enough to care.


Dan said...

While I tend to question some of Norquist's choices of some of his friends, this honestly strikes me as little more than a smear job by Pipes. You want to argue with Norquist, make substantive critiques about his views, not these kinds of cheap shot and guilt by association tricks.

Anybody who really wants to look at Islamist influence in the US needs to look at the Clown Prince who was at the ranch last week ...

Thomas Nephew said...

"Smear job" is Pipes' M.O.; recall Tariq Ramadan.