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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

Two Opposing Views of the Islamist Threat

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 26, 2016

Hugh Fitzgerald posted a 3,300-word piece at JihadWatch.com responding to a news item about Thomas Strothotte, president of Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg, Germany, advocating that all school children learn Arabic until 12 or 13 years of age; Fitzgerald called this a sign of "civilizational surrender."

But I went to the source of the news item in Die Welt and tweeted the news item in exactly the opposite way, noting that 94 percent of respondents answered negatively to a straw poll asking, "Should the Arabic language become a compulsory subject in Germany?" ("Sollte Arabisch in Deutschland zum Pflichtfach werden?")

That the mildly-conservative Welt-reading public with near-unanimity rejected Strothotte's suggestion seems to me far more newsworthy than the original suggestion.

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More on the Burkini Ban

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 25, 2016

I published an article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the "silly hysteria" in France over the novel female bathing article called the burkini, saying it's not a threat and the France authorities should concern themselves with serious matters.

Well the weather on the Riviera is hot and so is this topic. I pursue updates here.

(1) Reader Michael S points out how Western swimwear has changed over the short period of 100 years: click here. As he writes:

The Burkini looks much closer to what both women AND MEN were wearing in the West, just three generations ago, than modern swimwear does. The next thing you know, French children will be required to have tattoos in a few years, or go naked, the way this is trending. Perhaps men will also be required to shave their heads, and pierce their ears.

(2) The rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Paris, Moshe Sebbag, has endorsed banning the burkini. Comment: I wonder what he has to say about "Kosher Swimwear"?

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Ban the Burqa, Allow the Burkini

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 23, 2016  •  Philadelphia Inquirer

France has been seized by a silly hysteria over the burkini, prompting me to wonder when Europeans will get serious about their Islamist challenge.

For starters, what is a burkini? The word (sometimes spelled burqini) combines the names of two opposite articles of female clothing: the burqa (an Islamic tent-like, full-body covering) and the bikini. Also known as a halal swimsuit, it modestly covers all but the face, hands and feet, consisting of a top and a bottom. It resembles a wetsuit with a head covering.

Aheda Zanetti of Ahiida Pty Ltd in Australia claims to have coined the portmanteau in 2003, calling it "smaller than a burka" while "two piece like a bikini." The curious and sensational cross of two radically dissimilar articles of clothing along with the need it fit for active, pious Muslim women, the burkini (as Ahiida notes) was "the subject of an immediate rush of interest and demand." Additionally, some women (like British cooking celebrity Nigella Lawson) wear it to avoid a tan, while pious Jews have adopted a variant garment.

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No Saudi Money for American Mosques

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 22, 2016  •  The Hill

Saudi Arabia may be the country in the world most different from the United States, especially where religion is concerned. An important new bill introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) aims to take a step toward fixing a monumental imbalance.

Consider those differences: Secularism is a bedrock U.S. principle, enshrined in the Constitution's First Amendment; in contrast, the Koran and Sunna are the Saudi constitution, enshrined as the Basic Law's first article.

Anyone can build a religious structure of whatever nature in the United States, so the Saudis fund mosque after mosque. In the kingdom, though, only mosques are allowed; it hosts not a single church – or, for that matter, synagogue, or Hindu, Sikh, Jain, or Baha'i temple. Hints going back nearly a decade that the Saudis will allow a church have not born fruit but seem to serve as delaying tactics.

Pray any way you wish in America, so long as you do not break the law. Non-Muslims who pray with others in Saudi Arabia engage in an illicit activity that could get them busted, as though they had participated in a drug party.

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Parsi vs Daioleslam: Correcting the Record

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 19, 2016

Al-Monitor's congressional correspondent, Julian Pecquet, wrote an article in Al-Monitor about the divided Iranian community in the United States showing the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MeK or NCRI) on one side, against the regime in Tehran, and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) with the regime. In the course of the article, he paraphrases the head of NIAC, Trita Parsi:

Today's critics, Parsi said, are the same Iran hawks – and their allies in the NCRI – who urged a tougher stance against Tehran at the time.

In particular, Parsi points to the fact that the legal defense of Seyyed Hassan Daioleslam, the man NIAC sued for defamation, was organized by Daniel Pipes, a hawkish critic of radical Islam. The firm chosen to represent Daioleslam? Legal giant Sidley Austin, which just so happens to have been the US lawyer for arch-Iran foe Israel since 1992. NIAC failed to prove Daioleslam was acting out of malice and lost the case, even though the veracity of his claims was not established.

This passage contains multiple errors that could have been avoided had Mr. Pecquet done what a journalist should do and check with both sides of a dispute (rather than just with NIAC). As he did not, I'll help him by presenting a few facts:

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What's Trump's Policy on Visas for Muslims?

by Daniel Pipes  •  August 17, 2016  •  Washington Times

The discussion began last December, when Donald Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." This proclamation aroused so much opposition that Trump changed his position – several times, in fact. Where do things stand now on this supremely contentious issue and what can we expect were he elected president?

Trump's position began to evolve on July 14, when he called for the "extreme vetting" of immigrants: "if a person can't prove that they're from an area, and if a person can't prove what they have to be able to prove, they're not coming into this country." Nothing about Muslims here, just about accurate identification.

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Academics Who Fabricate: This Time, It's about Canary Mission

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 31, 2016

I was alerted in May 2015 to the opening of an anonymous new project named Canary Mission and tweeted out information on it:

.@CanaryMission is a new org'n that builds bios of US campus anti-#Israel fanatics so future employers will know their full college records.

Back came a Twitter storm, angry at Canary Mission, angry at me, calling me names, pinning the new activity on me. I explained to the Forward that I had nothing to do with the project but did endorse it:

Factually documenting who one's adversaries are and making this information available is a perfectly legitimate undertaking. Collecting information on students has particular value because it signals them that attacking Israel is serious business, not some inconsequential game, and that their actions can damage both Israel and their future careers.

Then came the attack articles; by way of illustration, the appalling Max Blumenthal wrote three pieces on Canary Mission in a two-week period at alternet.org. In one, he called me "a de facto spokesman" for Canary Mission because I passed some questions from his co-author, Julia Carmel, to the anonymous staff at Canary Mission.

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The 11th Encyclopædia Britannica on Who Is a Palestinian

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 31, 2016

As several authors (Aryeh L. Avneri, Joan Peters, Fred M. Gottheil) have shown, the non-Jewish population of Palestine grew because of the many in-migrants who came to work at Zionist economic enterprises. But it's also worth noting that, even before that immigration began, this small territory was already filled with a wide range of peoples.

The famed Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition, dating from 1910-11, or antedating the British conquest of the area, provides colorful information on these peoples. The entry Palestine in vol. 20, by the Irish archeologist Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister, delineates Palestine

as the strip of land extending along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea from the mouth of the Litany ... southward to ... a short distance south of Gaza. ... Eastward ... the line of the pilgrim road from Damascus to Mecca is the most convenient possible boundary. (p. 601)

This map shows what's meant (in modern terms, more or less northern Israel and northwestern Jordan) by Palestine.

Macalister's section on the population of Palestine stresses its diversity.

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End U.S. Aid to Israel

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 26, 2016  •  Israel Hayom

Exactly twenty years ago, a newly-elected Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu dramatically announced to a joint session of Congress:

We are deeply grateful for all we have received from the United States, for all that we have received from this chamber, from this body. But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America's long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: "We are going to achieve economic independence. We are going to do it. In the next four years, we will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance to Israel." I am convinced that our economic policies will lay the foundation for total self-reliance and great economic strength.

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Blowback from Criticizing Trump

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 21, 2016

I published a short article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Why I Just Quit the Republican Party," which detailed the reasons for my wanting nothing to do with its presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Not surprisingly, I received an earful in response – several hundred notes within hours, running about 3-to-1 against my views. Trump enthusiasts are nothing if not voluble and vehement.

Focusing on the negative responses, I note with interest that hardly a soul defended Trump from my five-part indictment. In almost every case, the answer to me was Hillary, Hillary, and Billary. Some critics accused me of effectively supporting her (the logic of which baffles me), many raised the imminent Supreme Court appointments, and nearly every one asserted that Trump is the lesser of two evils.

To which I reply:

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Why I Just Quit the Republican Party

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 21, 2016  •  Philadelphia Inquirer

The Republican Party nominated Donald Trump as its candidate for president of the United States – and I responded ending my 44-year GOP membership.

Here's why I bailed, quit, and jumped ship:

First, Trump's boorish, selfish, puerile, and repulsive character, combined with his prideful ignorance, his off-the-cuff policy making, and his neo-fascistic tendencies make him the most divisive and scary of any serious presidential candidate in American history. He is precisely "the man the founders feared" in Peter Wehner's memorable phrase. I want to be no part of this.

Second, his flip-flopping on the issues ("everything is negotiable") means that, as president, he has the mandate to do any damn thing he wants. This unprecedented and terrifying prospect could mean suing unfriendly reporters or bulldozing a recalcitrant Congress. It could also mean martial law. Count me out.

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Why I Rooted for the Turkish Coup Attempt

by Daniel Pipes  •  July 18, 2016  •  National Review Online

Every major government condemned the coup attempt in Turkey, as did all four of the parties with representatives in the Turkish parliament. So did even Fethullah Gülen, the religious figure accused of being behind the would-be take over.

All of which leaves me feeling a little lonely, having tweeted out on Friday, just after the revolt began, "#Erdoğan stole the most recent election in #Turkey and rules despotically. He deserves to be ousted by a military coup. I hope it succeeds."

Having this nearly-minority-of-one stance suggests that an explanation longer than 140 characters is in order. Three reasons account for my supporting the ouster of the apparently democratically elected and democratically ruling president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, by what are apparently the forces of reaction:

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Another Voice Predicting Islamism's Doom

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 23, 2016

Moncef Marzouki, the president of Tunisia from 2011 to 2014, has penned an analysis predicting, as I have, the demise of Islamism. I quote from a MiddleEastEye.net abridgement and translation of the original Arabic version that appeared at Aljazeera.net.

Marzouki, a liberal human rights activist who returned from exile after a popular revolt brought down dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, became president under a power-sharing agreement following Tunisia's first free parliamentary elections in October 2011, heading a government dominated by the Islamist Ennahda party. "We do not have the same point of view on women's rights, human rights, and so forth," he lamented to Time magazine in 2012.

In this article, Marzouki begins by placing Islamism in the context of three other isms: nationalism, pan-Arabism, and communism, all of which have declined. Today, he writes, we are "about to see the decline of a fourth wave, Islamism, after witnessing its launch in the early 1970s and reaching its peak in the late 1990s."

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Who Will Write France's Future?

by Daniel Pipes  •  June 7, 2016  •  Washington Times

Two high-profile French novels, dissimilar in timing and tone, portray two influential visions of France in the future. Not just good reads (and both translated into English), together they stimulate thought about the country's crises of immigration and cultural change.

Jean Raspail (1925-) imagines a racial invasion coming by sea, of rafts and boats taking off from the Indian subcontinent and heading slowly, inexorably for the south of France. In Le Camp des Saints (The Camp of the Saints, 1973), he primarily documents the helpless, panicked French reaction as the horde (a word used 34 times) "kept coming to join the swelling numbers."

It's a stark dystopian fantasy about the white race and European life that corresponds to fears articulated by no less than Charles de Gaulle, the dominant politician of post-war France, who welcomed non-white French citizens "on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are, after all, primarily a European people of the white race."

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Bernard Lewis and Me

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 31, 2016  •  Israel Hayom

The historian Bernard Lewis celebrates his 100th birthday today.

Three quotes establish his career. Martin Kramer, a former student of Lewis, sums up his teacher's accomplishments:

Bernard Lewis emerged as the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East. His elegant syntheses made Islamic history accessible to a broad public in Europe and America. In his more specialized studies, he pioneered social and economic history and the use of the vast Ottoman archives. His work on the premodern Muslim world conveyed both its splendid richness and its smug self-satisfaction. His studies in modern history rendered intelligible the inner dialogues of Muslim peoples in their encounter with the values and power of the West.

The University of California's R. Stephen Humphreys notes "the extraordinary range of his scholarship [and] his capacity to command the totality of Islamic and Middle Eastern history from Muhammad down to the present day." And, as the late Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University put it on Lewis' 90th birthday, he is "the oracle of this new age of the Americans in the lands of the Arab and Islamic worlds."

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