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ISIS​'s​ ​H​ostages​ and Related Topics
January 29, Newsmax

Siege in Sydney
December 15, Sun News Network, The Arena with Michael Coren

Tour d'Horizon: ISIS, Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians
November 16, David Horowitz Freedom Center

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

Russia and the Middle East: A tour d'horizon
October 25

Dubious U.S. Mission in Syria
September 27, PressTV, The Debate

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Syria's Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 26, 2015  •  The Washington Times

Population shifts resulting from Syria's four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That's because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Before looking at each country, some background:

First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It's a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III.

Second, historic tensions between the two main Muslim sects, Sunni and Shi'i, had largely subsided before Ayatollah Khomeini's rise to power in 1979. Driven by Tehran's aggression, they have since flared anew.

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Remembering Malcolm X Fifty Years Later

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 21, 2015

​On this date fifty years ago, the man best known as Malcolm X was killed by a Nation of Islam (NoI) hit squad while speaking just north of Harlem, New York.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha on May 19, 1925, to a Baptist minister father and West Indian mother, both politically involved, he lived on the streets of various eastern U.S. cities until he was jailed in February 1946, where, a year later, he began his self-education program. He first learned about the NoI from his brother in about April 1948 and joined it later that year. Three weeks after his release from jail in 1952, he met Elijah Muhammad, the NoI leader, and commemorated his new identity by throwing off his "slave name" in favor of Malcolm X.

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What Actually Causes American Fear of Islam and Muslims?

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 13, 2015

An ambitious 81-page document, Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network's Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, just appeared from the Center for American Progress, a liberal Democratic organization. Unlike its first iteration, in which a group with a $40-million annual budget and deep ties to big business had the nerve to claim that seven much smaller institutions were overpowering the country through their financial clout, this one looks at what the alleged "Islamophobia network" actually does.

The report, written by Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, and Ken Sofer, makes for interesting reading. Its premise is that critics of Islamism (1) are really anti-Islamic and (2) have single-handedly distorted a the fundamental American value, namely a "basic respect for the rights of minority groups throughout the country." According to the CAP study, "the views of anti-Muslim actors stand in stark contrast to the values of most Americans."

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Why the (toothless) Iran sanctions bill matters

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 13, 2015  •  The Washington Times

Nearly all the 54 Republican U.S. senators will vote in favor of the Kirk-Menendez bill requiring sanctions on Iran if the P5+1 negotiations fail. President Obama has promised to veto it. Now, the senate is gearing up for a high-drama vote; will Democrats provide the 13 to 15 votes needed for a veto-proof majority?

Lost in the shuffle is a little-noticed section of the bill that, if passed, guts it. The "Draft of Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015," posted on the website of Sen. Mark Kirk (Republican of Illinois) contains a "Waiver of Sanctions." Designed to win the support of skittish Democrats, it also undermines the bill's goal of forcing Obama's hand in the negotiations. Section 208 bears quotation in full:

The President may waive the application of any sanction pursuant to a provision of or amendment made by this title for a 30-day period, and may renew the waiver for additional 30-day periods, if the President, before the waiver or renewal, as the case may be –

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About Those 14 "Muslim-American Leaders" Who Met with Obama

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 10, 2015  •  The Blaze

For the first time in his six years as president, Barack Obama met behind closed doors with an exclusively domestic group of Muslims for about an hour on Feb. 4. They covered the boringly predictable topics, judging by the official readout, accounts by participants, and news reports.

What about the guest list? It includes a curiously unimpressive and motley collection of modestly accomplished individuals of little renown:

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3 French Soldiers, 3 Sitting Ducks

by Daniel Pipes  •  February 4, 2015  •  Israel Hayom

Comes the news that another Islamist immigrant from Mali named Coulibaly has attacked another Jewish institution in France. The first one, Amedy Coulibaly, murdered four Jews at a kosher store in Paris on Jan. 9; this second one injured three soldiers yesterday as they protected a Jewish community center in Nice.

Police say Moussa Coulibaly, about 30 years old, with a record of theft and violence, and apparently not related to Amedy, pulled a knife about 8 inches long out of a bag, injuring one soldier in the chin, one in the cheek, and one in the forearm.

Coincidentally, I left Nice about four hours before this attack and had passed by that Jewish center a few days earlier, in the course of a tour of Muslim-majority areas in ten cities across France and Belgium. Those travels brought me repeatedly in proximity to the heavily armed soldiers who protect Jewish institutions and prompted several skeptical conclusions on my part about their presence:

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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 are 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 met 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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