by Farha Khaled
Recently, the MiddleEastForum’s failed academic with a history of Islamophobia, Daniel Pipes sent out a fund raising email, full of misrepresentations and lies regarding a Center for American Progress report that described his anti-Muslim activities.
Pipes begins his solicitation:
The Center for American Progress, in a much-ballyhooed study, deemed me one of the five most influential thinkers shaping the public discussion of Islam.
The study Mr Pipes is talking about is “Fear Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” and the actual words used to describe Mr Pipes in the report are “Islamophobia misinformation expert” and not “influential thinker” as he is claiming.
It was the first in-depth report into how a small cadre of bigots are fomenting and funding Islamophobia for political gain though LoonWatch has been debunking and exposing their nefarious associations for over two years now. The report states (page 6):
Five experts generate the false facts and materials used by political leaders, grassroots groups, and the media:
“These experts travel the country and work with or testify before state legislatures calling for a ban on the nonexisting threat of Sharia law in America and proclaiming that the vast majority of mosques in our country harbor Islamist terrorists or sympathizers.
Indeed, the email Pipes sent out to solicit donations would qualify as an exhibit of this misinformation. He writes:
Meanwhile, Islamist violence in America is on the rise; for example, the number of jihad-related terror indictments in U.S. courts doubled in 2010 and is on pace to reach a new high in 2011.
Jihad related attacks in 2010 were down from the previous year. He made no mention of the significant numbers of American Muslims tipping off authorities about potential threats, nor of the growing debate questioning the motives of the myth makers fueling this propaganda.
Professor Charles Kurzman, who wrote the book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists gave an interview to Think Progress. He put the threat into context by explaining how American Muslims play a prominent role in combating what he describes as a low level threat.
Taken together, these three strands of the radical right — the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots — increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%.
Another study, “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans” a joint project by the Duke University and the University of North Carolina reached similar conclusions. David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University and a co author of this paper suggests:
Our research suggests that initiatives that treat Muslim-Americans as part of the solution to this problem are far more likely to be successful
Elaborating further in “It’s time to confront the ‘counterjihadists’” Schanzer suggests:
Muslims need to be more aggressive in confronting mistruths about Islam that appear in discourse, whether they come from radical Muslims or anti-Islamic demagogues. The public is uneducated about Islam. This vacuum is being filled by the clash-of-civilization cheerleaders. Muslims need to tell a different story.
In the Fall of 2011, Risa Brooks, Political Science Professor at Marquette University, wrote an analysis; “Muslim ‘Homegrown’ Terrorism in the United States: How Serious Is the Threat?” It details how the exaggerated fear of Islamic terrorism in the USA diverts costly resources from more pressing threats and questions why the Department of Homeland Security downplays the rising number of right wing terrorist threats and which are often not even labeled as such even when they qualify. She concludes:
“the political dynamics noted above contribute to an unbalanced presentation of domestic terrorist threats in the country, the well-intentioned desire by public offcials and politicians to prepare people for local attacks even at the risk of overstating their probability, and perhaps more cynically, those individuals’ bureaucratic and political incentives to magnify the threat. Regardless of the source of alarmism, all Americans benefit from questioning assumptions about the Muslim homegrown threat.“
Why then is Daniel Pipes engaged in focusing on and magnifying one threat? Tellingly, in ‘The End of American Jewry’s Golden Era‘ he laments:
The Jews’ Golden Age in America began in 1950, when social restrictions were eased in universities, banks, businesses, clubs, etc. This period may now be ending with the growth of the American Muslim population.
Elsewhere too, Pipes has written of his fear of the growing influence of American Muslims:
It is also the right of CAIR, AMC, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council to devote their resources to promoting the idea of Muslim victimization. But the reality is, stubbornly, otherwise: far from being victimized, the Muslim-American community is robust and advancing steadily.
In his paranoid mind, any kind of success enjoyed by American Muslims must necessarily translate as being detrimental to American Jews. This myopic thinking would explain his uncalled for attacks on Rep. Ellison and his fixation with Muslims in every walk of life from politics to business, from the academia to beauty pageants. Both in America and around the world, Pipes and his Islamophobic allies manage to find a conspiracy behind anything that portrays Muslims in a positive light.
Simultaneously, trawling the news for any crime committed by a Muslim to exploit as the true face of Islam even if the culprit was a non practicing Muslim or a non-Muslim! He claims to be protecting American rights in the Middle East and trumpets how Campus Watch (accused of intimidating academia) and The Legal Project combat ‘lawful’ jihadism and protects free speech citing Geert Wilders as a beneficiary. Would Wilders have been a recipient if he didn’t lent support to the far right Likud agenda that neo conservatives support? Top Dutch officials have mocked Wilders for claiming Islam is a trojan horse in the Netherlands when he himself is loyal to a foreign nation. Sheila Musaji has a compilation of anti Palestinian and Islamophobic memes that Pipes has attempted to legitimise through his organisations.
Returning to the email Pipes sent out, he goes on to solicit:
As debate over Middle Eastern and Islamic issues intensifies ahead of the 2012 elections, I urge you to support our efforts by making a donation
This shouldn’t come as any surprise. Pipes had already tried to inject anti Muslim hysteria masquerading as ‘debate’, both during and after the 2008 election. Some highlights include; Equating Keith Ellison to Hitler; Propagating the falsehood of Obama being a Muslim for which he was mocked at in Islam, Israel and Insurgents a televised Q and A session; Suspecting beauty pageants of ‘affirmative action’ for their odd frequency of having Muslim winners. Although Pipes claims that he only fights ‘Islamism’, in all likelihood to keep up a pretense of scholarly repute, Eli Clifton outed him as a fully fledged Islamophobe.
Having failed to influence the 2008 election in the way he had hoped, Pipes switched tactics proceeding to advise Obama that he could save his presidency by bombing Iran. Then when Egyptians were waiting for Mubarak to step down, he saw Iran as the puppeteer lurking in the background.
Evidently, Pipes intends to get just as down and dirty in the 2012 elections as he puffs:
The Forum, a think tank I founded in 1994 to promote American interests in the Middle East and protect America from Islamist threats, is very active these days.
By now there is plenty of evidence that points to a legitimate threat being hyped by Pipes under cover of American patriotism to promote Likud politics for which an Islamist bogeyman is necessary. All this, whilst accusing American Muslims of colluding with the left to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood. Clearly a bad case of projection. One could conclude that Pipes is as extreme as they get, but the peace advocate and blogger Richard Silverstein notes at his website Tikun Olam, popularly known as ‘The Wiki Leaks of Israel’ that ‘Among Anti-Muslim Warriors Pipes is a Dove‘. Particularly so when compared to proponents of Religious Zionism and right wing extremists.
Robert Steinback at the SPLC offers a mirror into the minds of these anti Muslim warriors with his intelligence report ‘Jihad Against Islam‘ which he ends with :
It is particularly perplexing trying to discern the ultimate goal of this corps of activists. If their aim is to isolate and destroy the violence-prone fanatical Muslim fringe, then it doesn’t make sense to undermine moderate Muslims and argue that only confirmed terrorists are interpreting the Koran correctly. But both tactics make perfect sense if the aim is to build a widespread, irrational fear and hostility against Islam in general — encouraging, rather than helping defuse, an eventual global confrontation between East and West.
It may indeed be a cynical obfuscation employed by Pipes and his allies to further their own politics and biases, but at the very least he can bank on receiving money to continue his crusade–if his followers are daft enough to donate.
Farha Khaled blogs at http://farhakhaled.blogspot.com and http://twitter.com/farhakhaled