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
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
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,
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,"
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
"...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-Info, PNET
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.