Daniel Pipes, the academic who dropped academia long ago to pursue anti-Islam polemics and apologia for Israeli policy is at it again. In a Nov, 24, 2009 article in the Jerusalem Post, Pipes writes about his favorite topic, “the Muslim threat to Western Civilization.”
According to the illogic of Pipes the greatest threat doesn’t come from Al-Qaeda, Ayatollah Khomeini or Nidal Hasan but rather from people like Dr. Tariq Ramadan and Congressman Keith Ellison. He accuses the two of being part of something he terms “Islamism 2.0.” This ridiculous term translates essentially into what Islamophobe Robert Spencer calls “Stealth Jihad,” or the subtle takeover of the West by peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who have a secret, sinister (stealth) goal to takeover the West and replace Democracy with Shariah law: in other words it’s a conspiracy theory.
Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism 1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith Ellison (a US congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western civilization. (emphasis mine)
That Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison can even be mentioned in the same sentence as equivalent to, or even more dangerous and threatening to the West than Bin Laden speaks volumes about Pipes’ preposterous agenda. Would Bin Laden have Turkey make peace with Armenia as Erdogan did? Would Bin Laden affirm Democracy as the way forward to better governance and equal rights as all three do? Would Bin Laden pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America on Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an as Keith Ellison did?
All of the above are of course rhetorical questions because there is an obvious wide gulf that separates the likes of a Bin Laden and a Keith Ellison. Keith Ellison, is an American whose family history in the Americas goes back centuries, longer even than Pipes’ family history. He is a liberal Democrat who believes in Democracy, the rule of law, universal suffrage and equal rights for all. That is why his district in Minnesota overwhelmingly voted for him.
The most condescending aspect to the vile piece from Pipes and what he ignores or fails to mention is that Erdogan, Ramadan and Ellison are Westerners. In fact, they represent all that is good about the West, they are consistent on their values, are educated, active and participatory citizens: one doesn’t have to agree with their beliefs or ideas to see the common values in that. They call on their fellow citizens to be active and educated and they foster understanding between different communities while also being self-critical; that is more than we can say for Daniel Pipes.
Pipes goes on to state that “lawful Islamism” is growing in the West and may be worse than “violent Islamism” which is retreating,
Other once-violent Islamist organizations in Algeria, Egypt, and Syria have recognized the potential of lawful Islamism and largely renounced violence. One also sees a parallel shift in Western countries; Ramadan and Ellison represent a burgeoning trend.
In conclusion, only Islamists, not fascists or communists, have gone well beyond crude force to win public support and develop a 2.0 version. Because this aspect of Islamism undermines traditional values and destroys freedoms, it may threaten civilized life even more than does 1.0’s brutality.(emphasis added)
Instead of bizzarely bemoaning the fact that these once violent organizations have renounced violence, Pipes should see it as most sensible people do, a positive development which brings these groups into the system and opens them up to the scrutiny of checks and balances and eventually the electorate. Also notice the highly disingenuous way in which Pipes again lumps these once violent organizations onto the same wavelength as Ramadan and Ellison who, yes, are proud Muslims (not a crime by the way) but at the same time are staunch Democrats who are the fiercest and most affective opponents of the violent ideology that motivates groups such as Al-Qaeda.
Ellison and Ramadan stand as a strong counter example against Bin Laden and his cohorts for Muslims, especially young Muslims. They see two Muslims, strongly grounded in their faith, belonging to their society and giving back on various levels from the social to the political; instead of deriding them Pipes should be encouraging them. As more examples such as theirs increase in the West it will enable Muslims to better fight those minority elements within their faith that seek to cause chaos and violence and that is what really threatens Daniel Pipes who seems to be motivated by the paranoid fear that the “enfranchisement of American Muslims…will present true dangers to American Jews.”
So what does Daniel Pipes propose? How do we stop this “stealth Islamism 2.0?” Do we restrict the free speech of Tariq Ramadan and deny him entry into the US? ( Pipes does support that) Do we disallow Muslims such as Keith Ellison from holding public office? Do we not allow Muslims to enter into the military? Do we watch Muslim peoples’ every move? What practical solutions is Pipes proposing from this highly opinionated and doomsday scenario article?
We can only assume that he is in league with other believers in these conspiracy theories who do put forward pratical solutions to the “stealth Muslim problem.” Believers like Geert Wilders whose solutions include: no religious freedom for Muslims, banning the Quran, taxing Muslim women who wear the Hijab, deporting Muslim citizens etc.
One must ask Daniel Pipes, does he agree with such a program? Some of his colleagues and friends such as Robert Spencer have already given their backing to Wilders, where does Pipes stand? Does he stand for Democracy, equal rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion or is he a hypocrite cloaking himself as a champion of Western civilization when in reality with every word he undermines it?