Who is Daniel Pipes ?

Throughout his career, Daniel Pipes has exhibited a troubling bigotry toward Muslims and Islam. As early as 1983, even an otherwise positive Washington Post book review noted that Pipes displays “a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims…he professes respect for Muslims but is frequently contemptuous of them.” Pipes, said the reviewer, “is swayed by the writings of anti-Muslim writers…[the book] is marred by exaggerations, inconsistencies, and evidence of hostility to the subject.” (The Washington Post, 12/11/83)

In The Weekly Standard (1/22/96), Pipes offered a glowing review of the infamous anti-Muslim book “Why I Am Not a Muslim.” The National Catholic Reporter (11/17/95) called that book “the literary equivalent of hate radio…literary warfare against Islam,” useful only to those “interested in returning to the polemical past to do battle with Islamic believers.” Pipes called the book “quite brilliant” and “startlingly novel.” “This religion would seem to have nothing functional to offer,” remarked Pipes.

Recently, Pipes questioned the origins of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, and questioned whether the Prophet Muhammad ever existed.

He wrote: “The Koran is a not ‘a product of Muhammad or even of Arabia,’ but a collection of earlier Judeo-Christian liturgical materials stitched together to meet the needs of a later age…A few scholars go even further, doubting even the existence of Muhammad.” (The Jerusalem Post, 5/12/2000)

According to Pipes, the night journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem referred to in the Quran (17:1) never occurred. This event, known as “al-Isra wa al-Miraj,” is marked each year by millions of Muslims worldwide. In the Los Angeles Times, Pipes wrote: “The Prophet Mohammed never went to the city, nor did he have ties to it.” (7/21/2000)

Pipes also displays a racist’s distaste for Muslim immigrants who “wish to import the customs of the Middle East and South Asia.” (Los Angeles Times, 7/22/99) For Pipes, this sort of raw bigotry is nothing new.

In 1990, he said: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” (National Review, 11/19/90)

In a review of a book that called for dialogue with the Muslim world, Pipes objected to the fact that the author: “…fails to…consider the implications of growing Muslim populations in the West. [The book], in other words, provides little guidance to the Islamic threat.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/30/92)

On a radical pro-Israel web site, Pipes claims that “as the population of Muslims in the United States grows, so does antisemitism.” (“The New Anti-Semitism,” http://freeman.io.com/m_online/jan98/pipes.htm)

He does not limit this claim to Arab Muslims alone. Pipes wrote that “Iranians and Pakistanis, to take two groups of non-Arabs, are at least as widely conspiracy-minded and as anti-Semitic as, say, Tunisians and Kuwaitis.” (Commentary, 9/1/99)

Of African-American Muslims, Pipes wrote: “…black converts tend to hold vehemently anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attitudes.” (Commentary, 6/1/2000)

In an editorial in Canada’s National Post, Pipes implied that the Canadian Muslim community could pose a threat to that country. He wrote: “Following Marxism, Leninism and Fascism comes Islamism…Islamism is a…phenomenon that has the power to do mischief…right here in Canada.” (8/7/99)

(Pipes now claims all these quotes were taken out of context.)

This is the same “expert” who claims Muslims have no real religious attachments to the city of Jerusalem and who recently argued that American Muslims pose a threat to the Jewish community. (“If I forget thee: does Jerusalem really matter to Islam?” The New Republic, 4/28/1997, and “America’s Muslims against America’s Jews,” Commentary, 5/01/1999)

In response to a suggestion that American Muslim voter registration drives are a positive development, Pipes wrote: “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)

Following the arrest of two Arab graduate students on a flight bound for Washington, D.C., (the airline later apologized for the incident) Pipes supported the practice of religious and ethnic profiling.

According to the Baltimore Sun: “‘It seems well worth it in order to keep would-be terrorists off guard,’ said Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, a think tank. He defended the close monitoring of Arab passengers, arguing that ‘the record shows over the last generation that the great acts of violence are coming from the Middle East…'” (The Baltimore Sun, 11/24/1999, Page 1A)

Noted scholar and author Edward Said, whose works include “Covering Islam” and “Orientalism,” wrote that Pipes is one of a group of anti-Muslim pundits who seek to “make sure that the ‘[Islamic] threat’ is kept before our eyes, the better to excoriate Islam for terror, despotism and violence, while assuring themselves profitable consultancies, frequent TV appearances and book contracts.” (The Nation, 8/12/1996)

A former director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (and one of Pipes’ instructors) had this to say:

“…to speak for myself, I have been appalled frequently by his [Pipes] polemical stance on almost everything having to do with Islam, Muslims, or the Palestinian/Israeli issue…

“…The irony in [an article written by Pipes] is of course that Dr. Pipes and other radically and blindly pro-Zionist American Jews are much farther along the chauvinist and ultimately anti-American spectrum than are even radical American Muslims.

“Yet Dr. Pipes, despite his own apparently strong, even blind, support for the Israeli state and its policies — even those policies that are attacked by thoughtful Israelis themselves as racist and oppressive — sees no incongruity in his condemnation of many Muslim Americans as a threat to the American state and democracy…” (Posted on Arabic-InfoPNET and Arab Nationalist lists, 9/10/99)

One of the anti-Muslim pundits supported by Pipes is Steven Emerson. Emerson is best known for his 1994 PBS production “Jihad in America.” Muslims say he has a long history of defamatory and inaccurate attacks on the Islamic community in this country.

Emerson was the “journalist” who fueled anti-Islamic hysteria by blaming Muslims for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He also said Muslims were responsible for the downing of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

Emerson’s organization, the Investigative Project, is a spin-off of Pipes Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum (MEF). In an investigative report by iViews.com, Emerson confirmed that MEF funded his activities in the past and said: “Clearly I had a very close relationship with them (MEF) and I continue to have a very close relationship.”

Emerson is currently involved in a multi-million-dollar defamation lawsuit against a Florida newspaper, its senior editor, and a former investigative reporter for The Associated Press (AP).

The complaint centers on allegations published by the newspaper that two AP reporters said Emerson gave them a document on terrorism supposedly from FBI files. The reporters said the document was actually authored by Emerson. The lawsuit also disputes allegations that Emerson gave false information to a Senate subcommittee during testimony in 1998.

He has recently been forced to retract accusations he made last year about a former journalism lecturer at California State University in Hayward, Ca.

Of Emerson, Pipes says: “I am proud to work with him.” (MSANEWS, 9/2/99)

Pipes also seeks to silence those who oppose his one-sided view of Islam. In 1996, he attacked the Council on Foreign Relations for publishing a newsletter that he accused of “giving voice to Muslim fundamentalists.” (“Fundamentalist Flap Roiling Council on Foreign Relations,” Forward, 5/10/1996)

American Muslims recall Mr. Pipes finger-pointing following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. (Pipes now admits that he was wrong on this point.) As The Village Voice noted: “Leaping directly into hysteria was the right-wing Daniel Pipes…who told USA Today…’People need to understand that this is just the beginning. The fundamentalists are on the upsurge, and they make it very clear that they are targeting us. They are absolutely obsessed with us.'” (5/2/95)

It would seem Mr. Pipes is the one with the obsession.

Given this history of hostility toward Muslims in general and to the American Muslim community in particular, it is not surprising that Pipes paints a black and white image of good “integrationist” or “traditional” Muslims who love mom and apple pie versus bad Muslim “chauvinists” and “Islamists.” This distinction without a difference is merely a smoke-screen for attacks on any Muslim who would defend Islam.

In his writings to date, Pipes has never offered objective criteria that would distinguish between “integrationist” and “chauvinists.” His definition of “chauvinist” must be fairly broad. In his National Post article, Pipes wrote: “The Internet boasts hundreds of Islamist [chauvinist] sites; I doubt whether there is a single one that is traditional [integrationist] Muslim.” (8/7/99)

Pipes obviously hopes to convince people of other faiths that the bad American Muslims are in the majority since he claims they “run most of the Muslim institutions in the United States.” (Los Angeles Times, “It Matters What Kind of Islam Prevails,” 7/22/99)

The kind of agenda-driven polemic offered by Pipes only serves to fan the flames of ignorance and prejudice. But perhaps that is his intent.