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Siege in Sydney
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The Rushdie Rules, 25 Years Later
November 2, Danish Free Press Society Conference

Russia and the Middle East: A tour d'horizon
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Articles and Blog Posts by Daniel Pipes   RSS 2.0 Feed

Does Europe Have No-go Zones?

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 20, 2015  •  The Blaze

Comments by Steven Emerson on Fox News have prompted a heated debate over whether predominantly Muslim "no-go" zones exist in Europe. On Jan. 11, Emerson said they "exist throughout Europe … they're places where the governments like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany don't exercise any sovereignty. .. you basically have zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don't go in, and where it's basically a separate country almost, a country within a country."

Although Emerson, whom I admire for his moral courage and investigative skills, immediately apologized for his "terrible error" of saying that cities such as Birmingham, England, "are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don't go," he did not address the larger question of whether no-go zones, in fact, do "exist throughout Europe" and are places where governments "don't exercise any sovereignty."

Is he right about this?

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Is Sisi Islam's Long-Awaited Reformer?

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 19, 2015  •  National Review Online

In a widely praised January 1 speech at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addressed the country's religious leadership, saying the time had come to reform Islam. He's won Western plaudits for this, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, but I have reservations about the speech.

To begin with, no matter how fine Sisi's ideas, no politician – and especially no strongman – has moved modern Islam. Atatürk's reforms in Turkey are systematically being reversed. A decade ago, King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan gave similarly fine speeches on "the true voice of Islam" and "enlightened moderation" that immediately disappeared from view. Yes, Sisi's comments are stronger, but he is not a religious authority and, in all likelihood, they too will disappear without a trace.

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In Defense of Europe's So-called Far Right

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 19, 2015  •  The Washington Times

Sunday a week ago, the French government sponsored a solidarity rally featuring an array of foreign leaders and all domestic political parties joining together in a "sacred union" (a term recalling World War I) against the massacres at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher market.

Make that all the political parties except one -- the National Front (NF) headed by Marine Le Pen, ostensibly excluded because it does not subscribe to "republican values." In reality, it was barred because, uniquely among French political parties, it opposes immigration; and other politicians fear that the NF gains in the aftermath of the massacres. Likewise, the government yesterday forbade a demonstration by the secularist Riposte Laïque organization that called for "Islamists out." .

Although myself a classical liberal with libertarian tendencies, in the center of the Republican party in the United States, I welcome the strengthening of the National Front and many of the other parties vilified as being on the "far right." Here is why:

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Images, not Words, Most Disturb Islamists

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 15, 2015

Inspire, the glossy, English-language internet magazine published by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published a "Wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam" poster in its March 2013 issue. No one paid much attention to it, not until the commando-style murder of Stéphane Charbonnier, one of the eleven listed, on Jan. 7. The other ten are Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Terry Jones, Carsten Luste, Molly Norris, Flemming Rose, Salman Rushdie, Morris Sadek (misspelled on the poster as "Swadiq"), Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, and Geert Wilders.

Looking over this list offers some insights into AQAP's mentality and by extension, that of Islamists in general:

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How Terrorism Harms Radical Islam

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 9, 2015  •  The Washington Times

An epidemic of recent high-profile attacks by Muslims in the name of Islam – in Canada, Israel, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, and France – raises an obvious question: How do the Islamist perpetrators figure that murdering an honor guard, driving cars into pedestrians, slaughtering non-Muslim bus passengers, taking hostage the patrons of a café, or massacring army kids and cartoonists will achieve their goal of applying Islamic law and building a caliphate?

Logically, their violence only helps if it terrorizes their enemies and compels them to bend to the Islamists' wishes; intimidation, after all, is the essence of terrorism. Sometimes, Islamist terrorism does achieve this objective. For example, to stay out of trouble, a sizeable number of artists have censored themselves concerning Islam; and the botched government response to the 2004 Madrid train bombings helped the opposition party win an election, then withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq.

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UCLA's Embarrassment: Prof. Abou El Fadl

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 7, 2015  •  FrontPageMagazine.com

The once-promising career of UCLA law professor Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl has faded over the past decade. Gone are the pleasures of glowing attention of the media, the invitations to join important government bodies and to offer expert testimony at high-profile trials.

It's not clear that this downward spiral resulted solely from my 2004 article demonstrating him to be a "stealth Islamist," but that exposé, read more than 30,000 times, surely diminished his stature. In it, I showed how, despite Abou El Fadl's once-vaunted reputation as a moderate Muslim, he

wants Muslims to live by Islamic law (the Shari'a), the law that among other things endorses slavery, execution for apostasy, and the repression of women, and which treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. "Shariah and Islam are inseparable," he has written, "and one cannot be without the other." In a revealing passage, he confesses that his "primary loyalty, after God, is to the Shariah."

This public airing of his true ambitions undercut his pretense of moderation.

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Did the CIA Fiddle With Population Statistics about Iran?

by Daniel Pipes  •  January 5, 2015

The World Factbook, described as "information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities," is perhaps the most prominent unclassified publication of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a major source of information.

Yet, a numerical discrepancy concerning the ethnic makeup of Iran prompted me three months ago, on October 5, 2014, to send the agency a letter (via its website):

Dear Sir or Madam:

I have looked at the World Factbook (WF) figures since 2000 on the question of ethnicity in Iran.

From 2000 through January 2011, the WF uses one set of numbers, which indicate that 51 percent of the population is Persian; but then, in November 2011, it switches to a 61 percent figure for Persians, where it has remained ever since. This is ostensibly based, the WF says in the November 2011 entry, on a 2008 estimate.

In the space of 10 months, then, the Persians increased 10 percent, the Lur 4 percent, the Kurds 3 percent, the Turkmen & Baloch remained unchanged, the Arabs lost 1 percent, the Azeris 8 percent, and the Gilaki and Mazandarani vanished. ​

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How to Travel like a CIA Spy

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 31, 2014  •  The Washington Times

I unreservedly condemn Edward Snowden's massive release of important U.S. government secrets. Once they're out, though, it makes no sense to ignore the information now available.

A 14-page document from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) carrying the arduous bureaucratic title of Surviving Secondary: An Identity Threat Assessment of Secondary Screening Procedures at International Airports offers a case in point. Translated into normal English, this means, "How undercover agents can avoid trouble when going through passport and custom controls."

Although the study deals narrowly with the CIA's concern that its clandestine agents will be stopped in passport checks and their false identities exposed, its information holds interest to anyone who travels internationally. Indeed, it's a useful guide precisely to what not to do when landing in a foreign airport. I plan to adopt its advice for my own trips, and, as a public good, I offer some of its main points to other lawful travelers so that they too can better avoid what's known as "secondary screening" – or being plucked from the primary (or routine) line for additional questioning.

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Did Swedes Just Decide for National Suicide?

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 30, 2014  •  National Review Online

Woe to anyone in Sweden who dissents from the orthodox view that welcoming large numbers of indigent peoples from such countries as Iraq, Syria, and Somalia is anything but a fine and noble idea. Even to argue against permitting about 1 percent of the existing population to emigrate annually from an alien civilization renders one politically, socially, and even legally beyond the pale. (I know a journalist threatened with arrest for mild dissent on this issue.) To state that there exists a Swedish culture worth preserving meets with puzzlement.

And yet, the realities of immigration are apparent for all to see: welfare dependency, violent bigotry against Christians and Jews, and a wide range of social pathologies from unemployment to politically-motivated rape. Accordingly, ever-increasing numbers of Swedes find themselves – despite known hazards – opting out of the consensus and worrying about their country's cultural suicide.

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An Arab Prince Denounces Islamism

by Daniel Pipes  •  December 10, 2014  •  The Washington Times

In a remarkable but thus-far unnoticed address on Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain (an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet), candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways to fight it.

He has much to teach Westerners (starting with his hapless UK counterpart, Crown Prince Charles), if only we would listen. Yes, some Western leaders speak about confronting the Islamist ideology, but the majority avoids this issue by resorting to euphemism, obfuscation, and cowardice. Most frustrating are those leaders (like Tony Blair) who deliver powerful speeches without follow-through.

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Is CAIR a Terror Group?

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 28, 2014  •  National Review Online

We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on Nov. 15 when the news came that the United Arab Emirates' ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.

This came as a surprise because the UAE authorities themselves have a record of promoting Islamism; because CAIR has a history of raising funds in the UAE; and because the UAE embassy in Washington had previously praised CAIR.

On reflection, however, the listing makes sense for, in recent years, the Islamist movement has gravely fractured. Sunnis fight Shi'is; advocates of violence struggle against those working within the system; modernizers do battle against those trying to return to the seventh century; and monarchists confront republicans.

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Adding Turkey to the "State Sponsors of Terrorism" List

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 28, 2014

According to Israeli intelligence, Hamas has moved its outside-Gaza headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul; it is headed by Saleh al-Arouri, whom Israel Hayom calls "an infamous arch-terrorist believed to be responsible for dozens of attacks against Israelis."

Arouri recently plotted at least two very ambitious but foiled operations: an August effort to topple the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and this past week multiple operations against "Israeli destinations in the West Bank, … an attack on Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, and an attack on the light rail train in the capital."

So far, the Israelis have limited their protests to suggesting that this is not the way a NATO ally should behave.

Official communiqués sent from Jerusalem to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's office in Brussels, via several channels, said it was inconceivable that a member of the intergovernmental military alliance would maintain ties with a terrorist organization. …

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Thoughts on the P5+1 Negotiations with Tehran

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 26, 2014

The Nov. 24 deadline came and went for an agreement between the powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran; on that date, they managed only to extend the existing interim deal for another seven months. The ayatollah crowed and U.S. senators stewed. Looking beyond these responses, the current situation spurs several thoughts:

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A Quiet Clash at the Swedish Foreign Ministry

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 13, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Sweden is arguably the most "European" of European countries by virtue of its historically cohesive nationhood ("one big family"), militaristic and socialist legacies, untrammeled immigration, unmatched political correctness, and a supercilious claim to the status of a "moral superpower." These features also make it perhaps the most alien of European countries to an American conservative.

In this context, I offer a summary and paraphrase of my discussion with two senior members of the permanent bureaucracy in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) held during a recent visit to Stockholm. Our affable but pointed discussion focused on the Middle East, on which we agreed on almost nothing; I might as well have been in Sudan's or Syria's MFA.

The following contains the seemingly sober officials' more colorful statements, then my responses. First, we discussed the Iranian nuclear program:

  1. The IAEA inspection regime in Iran is the most intense ever mounted anywhere; it includes cameras that watch the Iranian installations around the clock, so we definitely know what's going on there.

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Terrorism Defies Definition

by Daniel Pipes and Teri Blumenfeld  •  October 24, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Defining terrorism has practical implications because formally certifying an act of violence as terrorist has important consequences in U.S. law.

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