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Daniel Pipes Has a Problem with the Son of Mary?

Old Persian miniature of Virgin Mary and Jesus

Old Persian miniature of Virgin Mary and Jesus

by Emperor

Haroon Moghul, who was recently interviewed by Garibaldi wrote an essay published in the Boston Review that reflected on the Muslim view of Jesus, aka the “Son of Mary.” It was an intriguing essay that pointed out that it is in respect to the person of Jesus that the three Abrahamic faith traditions significantly part ways (a point we’ll get to later). The essay mentions Jesus’ central role as a mighty Prophet of God, eschatological figure and crucial character of emulation for Islamic Sufism and more. I urge Loonwatchers to read the entire article.

One tantalizing episode that Moghul recounts is Prophet Muhammad’s taking of Mecca and demolition of the idols that were housed in the Ka’ba, excepting two portraits, one of Jesus and the other of Abraham:

For Muslims, Mecca is the holiest city, while Jerusalem comes third, after Medina. When Muhammad arrived in Mecca from Medina in the year 630, Mecca voluntarily surrendered to his superior army. Thus victorious, he cleansed the Ka’ba of all its idols. But he stopped his followers from touching two paintings: one of his ancestor Abraham, and the other of Jesus and Mary. Though it was lost over time, the painting of the virgin mother and her child remained there, inside the building toward which Muslims pray, for years.

I wonder if militant Salafists who in the past few months have demolished historic heritage sites in Mali have some sort of collective amnesia regarding the above tradition!

The reaction to Moghul’s article was overwhelmingly positive as one would expect, but there were a few of the usual Muslim haters who showed up, ranting and raving about evil Islam and Muslims.

One such comment was from Daniel Pipes, who wrote:

#3 Historian
I am surprised by the Boston Review’s publication of this nonsensical article. It is filled with historical inaccuracies and tries to divide Christians and Jews. Shame on you Haroon Moghul and shame on you Boston Review!
— posted 12/26/2012 at 02:31 by Daniel Pipes

Is this renowned neo-Con Muslim hater Daniel Pipes? The language and tone is altogether consistent as is the lack of any sort of rebuttal based on facts.

Another commenter, Gene, hit it on the head when when he wrote in reply to “Pipes”:

#17 What people share

I hope comment #3 is actually Pipes, by the way. The hysterical accusation of trying to divide Christians and Jews sounds like him. In particular, the knee-jerk defense of Jews (where none is called for), suspicion of the author’s motives, and assumption of bad faith are hallmarks of Pipes’s style. Either this is a spot-on parody or it must be Pipes, who is just sufficiently reality averse to read that ridiculous conclusion into this article. And I use the word “ridiculous” advisedly. That statement, and its putative author, are worthy of ridicule.

— posted 12/27/2012 at 16:58 by Gene

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  • eslaporte

    Of course, with this ilk it’s not about scholarship and academic debate in a civilized manner. It’s about labeling, namecalling, defaming, as well as political and biased “scholarship.” It’s not about allowing the truth to take you where it lies — but about manufacturing “knowledge” and intimidating those who disagree.

    “Campus Watch” is not about free speech and especially academic expression – it’s about enforcement and labeling those who do want to use their free expression to present a view they “Campus Watch” does not like…

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  • Kirook

    You’re right, I haven’t seen Chick’s name much even in relation to the Christian Right, which probably means that indeed, he isn’t well known enough to warrant a rebuttal.

  • Kirook

    Yes, THAT Chick Publications. Chick’s anti-Islam tract’s aren’t the worst of his material, far from it. As I mentioned before, he saves the worst of his vitriol for Catholics, but he seems to hate everyone except a VERY specific type of Evangelical Christian, often threatening fire and brimstone for those who do not “accept Jesus Christ in their hearts”. He is devout to the point of being ludicrous, and often uses strawman arguments to “rebut” ideas he doesn’t like (such as evolution and environmentalism), and he seems to seriously believe in intelligent falling. No one can tell whether the Chick Tracts are parodies or the real thing, but an interview with Chick seems to have confirmed the latter.

  • Solid Snake

    You’re giving me ideas….like I said before, if they can make money off of the Islamophobia industry, so can we! Lets start up a franchise based on these stories but we will take out all names and identifiers of modern day groups and make up our own.

  • Sam Seed

    Wow is it still in circulation? I thought they stopped publishing this ‘comic’? Yeah they were quite funny (unintentionally) and can be considered satire.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    Some of his claims are so bizarre they could be a PS3 game in their own right

  • MAalHakeem

    This narration from al-Azraqi is unauthentic because al-Azraqi himself is unknown to the Islamic Hadeeth scientists, and knowing the narrator is crucial for the authenticity of the text. All approved narrators must be well known and their lives well documented, which in the case of al-Azraqi not available. Also the chain of narration all the way to the time of the Prophet (p) is unauthentic.

    The most important thing is that this unauthentic narration contradicts the authentic ones in the authentic Hadeeth books, as can be found in these links: (Leave the page to completely upload before scrolling)

    Also, al-Azraqi refuted himself in other narrations where he said that the Prophet (p) commanded Umar to remove every image and statue inside the Ka’bah, and that the Prophet didn’t enter until all images and statues were removed.

    Therefore, this narration is weak in both its authenticity and its textual coherence, while the authentic ones emphasize that the Prophet didn’t enter until all signs of idolatry, i.e., images and statues, were removed.

    We don’t need such fabrications to emphasize that Muslims should peacefully co-exist with non-Muslims and should not desecrate their holy possessions in their places of worship or homes.

  • Solid Snake

    Wow lol these would make interesting fantasy stories if they didn’t demonize others. Sounds like that could be DLC for Devil Mat Cry lol

  • golden izanagi

    ah jack chick his stories can be amusing but the stories of his associates can be even more absurd I’ve mentioned alberto rivera allot in comparing him to kamal saleem but another of those who provide his material the most I’ve been amused by (considering I’ve read her whole book) are the stories of rebecca brown who’s exploits include summoning demons to fight other peoples demons kinda like pokemon during her time working at a hospital, of course that’s not the crazy thing as it gets better, the bat shit crazy part includes her escapades helping a woman who married satan, yes a literal marriage to satan and no I am not kidding this can be found in her book “he came to set the captives free” which can probably be checked out at a library.

  • Solid Snake

    Are we talking about the same Jack Chick of Chick Publications? Yesterday my brother came home from a night out shopping and threw a little book into my lap. He told me to check it out. It was titled “The Sky Lighter” with a little boy holding up two sticks that seemed to be emitting fireworks from the tops. At first glance, while trying not to get killed in an online game of Battlefield 3, I thought it was some sort of instructional manual for kids fireworks or some sort of fireworks display that my brother must have picked up. I finished the online session and opened it up. Boy was I wrong. It was a comic about a boy named Abdullah.Abdullah is raised be his family from birth to be a ‘warrior’ that will light up the sky. As a child he is taught about Jihad and what his reward will be. A picture of Yasser Arafat makes an appearance in one of the panels. An Imam is teaching the kids at the mosque that if they kill the infidels they will be rewarded with virgins etc etc. Abdullahs friend Yusuf appears and begins to tell Abdullah about Christ. He tries to save Abdullah but in the end Abdullah still blows himself up in a crowd of people after being convinced by his family. It is a disgusting piece of work but one that I laughed at immediately. The pictures of the Muslims were ugly, intentionally I believe. Overall it was amateurish really. I asked my brother where he had gotten it from. He said a man was passing them out at the department store he was shopping at. My brother called the manager and let him know. They said that the man was escorted off the premises.

    On the back cover it had the name “Evangelist Glenn Pethers” a P.O box address in Minot, ND, and the website of the church that bought these from Chick Publications.

  • Awesome

    Jack Chick’s tracts are simply promoting the lies of Alberto Rivera, who is a proven fraud.
    Like virtually all comics, it is a work of fiction, albeit, one that
    uses history and real people as a base. Most (if not all) Western
    Christian Evangelical fundamentalists are Zionists that are bigoted
    against Islam, Muslims and Arabs in general. Jack Chick is nothing new or special in that department.
    The only different about him, is that he’s more of a crackpot who wraps
    up his bigotry against Islam with his bigotry against Catholics. As far
    as I know he’s not a very prominent figure in the looniverse like
    Spencer and Geller are, and until he becomes one, he probably isn’t
    worth addressing.

  • Kirook

    Hi loonwatchers,

    Maybe someone should do a piece on Jack Chick/the Chick Tracts? He isn’t singularly bigoted toward Islam (indeed, he seems to hate Catholics the most) but he does fit our definition of “loon.” Chick is a religious fundamentalist of the worst order, and while his faith is admirable, he delivers his message in an anviliciously* bigoted manner that needs to be taken on.

    *The satirical website TV Tropes’s term for a moral or message that is so blatantly obvious that the writer might as well have put it on an anvil and dropped it on your head. TV Tropes is the site where I first came across the Chick Tracts, so it was this term that popped into my head.

    Keep up the jihad. Peace out.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Iran = bogyman Pipes view
    Sir David

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Interesting. I’m guessing Pipes wants to accentuate the image of Iran as some irrational fanatical state that makes decisions based off of extreme religious ideology rather than what benefits it politically.

    I agree Pipes does seem to suffer from selective amnesia and also omission when it suits him.

    On a side note regarding the mention of Al-Mutanabbi and others, have you read Ibn Warraq’s abysmal “Leaving Islam,” a revisionist work that tries to link the deaths and executions of some of these individuals as being part of a continuous transhistorical line of “Islamic persecution”?

  • Tanveer Khan

    Interesting aswell. Thank you. 😀 I shall spend time looking into this.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Very interesting. Thank you. 😀

  • mindy1

    Sure seems like something he would say.

  • As a non-scholar, and a non-Muslim to boot, I’m not much of an authority. However, it is possible that the prophet did not see them as images of gods but instead as ancestors to whose intellectual and prophetic traditions he honoured.

  • Arab Atheist

    I agree, Garibaldi. The argument his book is making is that the Fatwa issued against Rushdie is not a ploy by Khomeini made for political gains (other scholars claimed this was the case in the light of Iran’s defeat in the war with then Sunni Iraq). If the issue is not Political, well, then, it is cultural: “Westerners are too reluctant to take any religion seriously” (page 101) vs. “the fundamentalist Muslim understanding of fiction” (page 104).

    These sweeping generalizations are surprising because earlier in the book Pipes surveyed (let’s say in a scholarly fashion) the history of blasphemous writing in the Muslim world and made the argument that Muslims once had a history of tolerance (sometimes carelessness) towards texts which were far more blasphemous than Rushdie’s. He gives many classic and modern examples of “blasphemous” writers, like: Al-Mutanabbi, Al-Ma’arri, and Iran’s Ali Datchi. What I am trying to say is that Pipes is not underinformed, but seems to suffer from selective amnesia.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    What is the premise of “The Rushdie Affair”?

    I agree he is capable of decent analysis, but I’ve seen too many instances of him making horrendous mistake to give him credit as a scholar. I think you’re describing him as someone “posing as a scholar” is more accurate.

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  • Tanveer Khan

    Does anyone know why the prophet decided to keep those pictures in the Kaabah?

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