A Moment for Truth: Daniel Pipes vs. the Islamists
By Frank Gaffney
(Washington, D.C.): The war on terror has been the object of our national attention for nearly three years now. Yet, the impetus behind this conflict arguably remains as much a mystery to millions of Americans as it was on September 11, 2001.
While there are a number of contributing factors, a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism hearing chaired last month by the estimable Senator Jon Kyl (Republican of Arizona) strongly suggested one overarching one: A long-term, global and often violent struggle for the soul of Islam being waged by the radical state religion of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, backed by the full resources, royal family and government of that kingdom.
The House of Wahhab
To be sure, the Sunni Wahhabis' counterparts in the Shi'ia sect -- notably those supported by the ruling mullah-ocracy of Iran -- are also contributing to the terrorist threat we face. Troublesome as these Iranian efforts are, however, they pale by comparison with those fueled by the rival Saudi/Wahhabi determination to dominate the followers of Mohammed world-wide, forcibly if necessary.
This is seen as a necessary first step towards establishing a new caliphate that will ultimately hold sway over both Muslims and non-Muslims under the extreme interpretation of the Koran that is, literally, the constitution of Saudi Arabia. Incredible as it may seem, this ambition is not new; it has its roots in the quintessential marriage-of-convenience forged between the House of Saud and the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, nearly two-hundred and sixty years ago.
What is frighteningly new, though, is the progress that the Kyl hearing showed has been made toward Wahhabi domination of the Islamic faith. This has been made possible by decades of Saudi investment in promoting jihad (holy war or struggle) via mosques, their educational arms (madrassas) and numerous religious and ethnic front organizations on every continent -- including, worryingly, in the United States of America. Al Qaeda is only the best known of a number of Wahhabi-associated terrorist networks that are engaged in murderously advancing their religion's enterprise against those considered to be infidels, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Enter Daniel Pipes
Few people have done more over a longer period of time to warn of the dangers posed by extremist Islam to its co-religionists and the rest of us than Dr. Daniel Pipes. Through decades of scholarship, writing (including numerous books and almost innumerable articles) and public commentary, he has helped to define the difference between peaceable, law-abiding, tolerant and pro-Western Muslims and "Islamists" who are none of the above. He has argued for years that the former have as much of a stake as anyone in countering the rising influence of the latter, and must be recognized and embraced as such.
Not surprisingly, those working for, funded by or otherwise associated with the Islamists have been infuriated by Dr. Pipes and his warnings which expose -- and, if heeded, could defeat -- their currently fraudulent claim to lead and speak for all Muslims.One of the few signs that the Bush Administration appreciates the important differences between Wahhabis and their Islamist ilk, on the one hand, and the rest of the Muslim world on the other, has been the President's courageous nomination of Daniel Pipes to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. While the post is not terribly influential, let alone visible, it nonetheless requires presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. The Pipes nomination will, accordingly, be the subject of a hearing tomorrow [Wednesday] before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The possibility that a man who has broken-the-code on the threat posed by the Wahhabis and other Islamists -- and done as much as anybody to raise an alarm about it -- might actually be credentialed in this way is driving their fellow-travelers to distraction. Organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are mounting a vituperative campaign against the Pipes nomination, replete with press releases, phone banks and letters to Committee members and other Senators.
The good news is that a number of courageous non-Wahhabi Muslims have expressed strong support for Daniel Pipes' appointment to the Peace Institute's board. Even some tolerant, pro-American Muslims who say they disagree with Pipes' positions on occasion appreciate that he has spoken on their behalf -- as well as that of non-Muslim targets of Islamist enmity. They are urging legislators not to cave in to what amounts to brute intimidation under the false pretense that those exercising it represent the entire American Islamic community.
The Bottom Line
Whatever happens to his nomination in the days ahead, Daniel Pipes has earned this column's annual "Horatius-at-the-Bridge" Award for his sometimes controversial but always thoughtful, principled and tenacious efforts to inform his countrymen -- both Muslims and non-Muslims -- of the dangers posed by radical Islam. Like the legendary Roman who single-handedly saved his city by defending a bridge against hordes of enemy invaders, Dr. Pipes has rendered signal public service with his contributions to the war on terror, including those he made long before most of the rest of us knew it was underway.
Insofar as Horatius Pipes has understood so much for so long about the character and driving force behind the central conflict of our time, he is a brilliant choice to help guide an organization dedicated to promoting international peace. No one comprehends this better than those who would deny him this role -- most especially those whose future influence and successful pursuit of the Wahhabi/Islamist agenda depend critically upon suppressing public awareness of the high-stakes struggle now underway for the soul of Islam.
Frontpage Magazine's Testimonials
"Daniel Pipes has long been conversant with and deeply involved in the issues facing the USIP, and his work on those issues is informed by solid scholarship, a sharp critical intelligence, and a fair-mindedness that coexists harmoniously with a capacity to make sound moral judgments. Given these qualities, he would make an invaluable member of the USIP board."
"Daniel Pipes is a distinguished and brave scholar and author on a wide range of matters related to the Middle East, and his nomination to the US Institute of Peace should be supported. His criticisms have been not of Islam generally but of the militant Wahhabi movement and the Islamists which it and those who agree with it fund and support. He should not be denied this nomination because he is frank and candid about Wahhabis, their relentless spreading of hatred about other Muslims, Jews, Christians, the West, women and indeed the vast majority of humanity, and their habit of doing so deceptively in the name of Islam generally."
R. James Woolsey
"I have known Dr. Pipes for many years and I have always been impressed by his professional competence and accuracy. The fact that his opponents are people with the opposite qualities only reinforces my conviction that his presence on the board of the United States Institute of Peace will bring both needed balance and a breath of fresh air."
Dr. Michael Radu
"Daniel Pipes is a scholar. His books and articles have contents and substance. The student of the Middle East can learn much from them. He may disagree, but he will benefit. Daniel Pipes is a voice in the complex debate concerning the Middle East. His interventions in the public arena do not abide by the codes of political correctness. More importantly, they provide perspectives and solutions. People may disagree, and often don't, but the debate is enriched. His work is important to this country."
"Daniel Pipes is a pre-eminent scholar with a long and distinguished record of publication on the Middle East both ancient and modern. The current controversy that surrounds his nomination to the USIP is nonsensical given Dr. Pipes' acknowledged expertise, but instead arises from his prescient warnings that Islamic fundamentalist terrorists were both a threat to the United States and had adherents within the United States-all proven true by the events following September 11. We owe this lone voice in the wilderness our gratitude and must ensure that his sobriety and common sense continue to help guide us in these most challenging times."
Victor Davis Hanson
"Daniel Pipes is one of the foremost scholars of the Islamic world in America. He is also a strong public advocate for sound national security policies and has been one of the most important supporters of the President's war on terror. For this reason Daniel Pipes has come under attack both from groups that are critical of the President's policies and from others that are sympathetic to the radical cause. I am familiar with Daniel Pipes' books and as publisher of his column on www.frontpagemag.com a regular reader of everything he writes. I can assure you that the signature idea of Daniel Pipes's commentary is that he draws a hard and clear line between our Islamic friends, who constitute the overwhelming majority of Islam and that minority in the Islamic world -- represented by Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups -- which has declared war on us. Pipes' terms for these two groups are "Militant Islam" which is hostile to America and to Western values and "Moderate Islam," which represents the vast -- non-radical -- majority of the Muslim world. I have also been in the audience at colleges where Daniel Pipes has spoken, and can say that in all his writings and actions, Daniel Pipes is scrupulous in observing the distinction between mainstream Islam, which shares our desire for peace, and Militant Islam which does not.
Daniel Pipes' ideological enemies on the left have gone to great length to distort his writings and teachings. It would be an immense loss to this country if they were to succeed in obstructing his nomination and denying his country the services of his intellect and talent."
"Daniel Pipes is the Paul Revere of our age. For years, he has attempted to warn Americans of the danger of radical Islam. His is a voice that should be heard at the very highest levels of the U.S. government. The opponents of his nomination to the board of the U.S. Institute for Peace would, if successful, do a terrible disservice to the security of
"Daniel Pipes is a distinguished and courageous scholar. He brings fresh, original and occasionally iconoclastic perspectives to a field in which there is currently too little diversity and too little serious debate. He deserves a seat at the table."
Clifford D. May
"I guess I can't avoid the cliche: Daniel Pipes is a ‘national treasure.' For years, he did the hard work of finding out about the Arab world, and the terrorist threat. People didn't want to hear about it. He lived with physical threats. Now -- when his topic is more important than ever -- a lot of people still don't want to hear about it. And he is still facing threats. And, of course, he is more valuable and more needed than ever. He is serious, balanced, judicious, and brave. And he stands almost alone. Daniel Pipes is one of a tiny clutch of inquirers who dare to report what is necessary to know about the Arab and Islamic world. He pays Arabs and Muslims the compliment of taking them seriously. I, and many other people, have learned a great deal from Daniel Pipes over the years. And if I may: It seems to me that it's no great surprise that the son of Richard Pipes -- another brave and invaluable scholar, in another area (Russia and the Soviet Union) -- should stand so tall."
"Daniel Pipes ranks among one of the most important, informed, and wise scholars of the Middle East. Through scholarship and work as a public intellectual, he has done a great deal to inform Americans of the geopolitical realities of the Middle East. I strongly support his nomination to the board of the Institute of Peace."
"I strongly support the nomination of Daniel Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace. Daniel Pipes has made an invaluable contribution to our national debate on the events of September 11 and their aftermath. Even before 9/11, and to his great credit, Pipes was one of the few observers who warned of the terrorist threat. I don't always agree with Pipes, although I often do. But agree or disagree, Pipes is a thoughtful, courageous, and deeply knowledgeable observer. We all profit for having his views in the mix as we develop an international stance in a terrorist age. Those who have tried to silence Daniel Pipes are wrong. If we allow them to win on this, real debate on the Middle East in this country will suffer."
"Daniel Pipes will be a dangerous board member of USIP - dangerous to supporters of terrorist causes, because he is one of the few who knows intuitively how to identify the agents of terror who speak falsely of peace from the sincere and often silent majority. The fact that Hamas supporters like CAIR are rallying the opposition to him shows how the terrorist cause hates and fears him. Daniel Pipes is unafraid."
J. Michael Waller, Ph.D.
"No scholar has done more to expose the radicalization of Middle Eastern Studies than Daniel Pipes. He has done so out a deep commitment to democratic ideals, and a recognition of how important it is that they flourish in the Islamic world. Daniel Pipes is an unusually courageous academic who would make a splendid addition to the Board of the U.S. Institute for Peace."
"President Bush should be applauded for his nomination of Daniel Pipes to the US Institute of Peace (USIP). Daniel Pipes represents the highest ideals of academic scholarship, integrity, and commitment to principles- even when it means taking Pipes has been the target of forces in this country who are unhappy that he has been an early and consistent voice regarding the threats we face from terrorism and the global threats or radical Islam. Some would try to paint Pipes as anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, nothing could be farther from the truth. Those ad hominum attacks against Daniel have not and will not force him to remain silent about the global threats we face. This says much about his character and underscores why the President nominated him and why he should be confirmed by the United States Senate."
"Daniel Pipes, one of the most important scholars of the Middle East, has perhaps done more than anyone else to clear up the confusion and obfuscation about the threat to our nation from the forces of radical Islamofascism. He has done a yeoman's work in the effort to restore the academy to its true function of dispassionate and honest scholarship, and to move it away from functioning as a tool of the Saudi lobby. He deserves confirmation to the board of the United States Institute of Peace."
"Dr. Daniel Pipes is virtually without peer in his knowledge of international Islamic terrorism and in his courage to face realistically the threat from these terrorists, who are laboring to destroy our nation. He has the expertise and vision we need to help prevent future terrorist attacks and to achieve a peaceful resolution to the war on terror. As such, we need him on the Institute of Peace. Like many others who have dared to speak out about Islamic terror, he has been subjected to a vicious smear campaign aimed at destroying his reputation through lies and distortions. Not to confirm him would be to bow to this campaign and to lose an indispensable asset in our present struggle."
"The nomination of Daniel Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace is a most welcome development. American policy toward the Middle East has long been crippled by distortion, misinformation, and myth that obscures accurate understanding of the problems of the region. Pipes' repeated surfacing of politically inconvenient truths and exploding of myths about the Middle East, myths beloved by the academic world and the reigning regimes of the Middle East, has had a dramatic and healthy impact on American comprehension of the challenges there."
John Earl Haynes
"Among American experts on Islam, Daniel Pipes is the most ardent and articulate supporter of the importance of democratic values and ideas. His nomination was a triumph of good sense; his rejection would be a triumph for all those who believe the Arab and Islamic world must remain in a state of perpetual unfreedom."
"I don't always agree with Daniel Pipes. Then again, few could say that. But that's precisely why he should serve on the United States Institute of Peace. USIP essentially serves as a government think tank, and we need someone there who is willing to challenge the traditional orthodoxy of our foreign policy establishment. The controversy surrounding his nomination should tell you that he is bound to do just that."
"What can you say about a Middle East expert who swam against the mainstream of area scholarship in the two central issues of the past decade and lived not only to tell the tale but be proven right? Perhaps, you can say that he earned a seat on the board of the Peace Institute. After all, an accurate analysis of a problem is a necessary condition to the finding of a solution. Dan Pipes was amongst the handful of scholars who refused to avert their eyes from the deep flaws of the Oslo process or from the dangers posed by Islamism. His courage, independence of mind and unflinching integrity will greatly benefit an Institute dedicated to the enhancement world peace."
Dr. Judith A. Klinghoffer
"It is critically important that Daniel Pipes' nomination be confirmed because he is an outstanding expert on Islam and Middle Eastern policy issues. He has an outstanding record of being careful to distinguish between intolerant Moslems who preach hatred of the US and violence against the West and ordinary Moslems. He has been the victim of false charges of bigotry and anti-Moslem incitement. And the US will suffer greatly if this slander campaign succeeds in defeating or delaying his nomination."
"Daniel Pipes is a respected and careful scholar who has been subjected to a barrage of unfair and prejudicial attacks for his writings on Islamic extremism. The effort to destroy his reputation and distort his views is shameful and mean-spirited. In his writings and speeches he has been very careful to differentiate between Islam and the extremists who have used it to launch an ideological and military attack on the United States. He deserves to be confirmed to serve on the United States Institute of Peace.
"Like many journalists, I have spent the last two years desperately trying to make sense of the clash between militant Islam and the West. Daniel Pipes has been invaluable in this regard. Unlike many of the self-styled experts who have emerged since 9/11, Pipes has been talking about the problem of militant Islam for more than two decades. The accusation that he is a "hatemonger" or some such is inaccurate: He is careful in his efforts to distinguish militant Islam from the peaceful brand of the faith to which more than 90% of Muslims adhere. Mr. Pipes' contribution has been priceless and his work deserves to be situated alongside that of Princeton Scholar Bernard Lewis and Harvard's Samuel Huntington.
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