When I disagree with someone, I go after ideas; But, again and again, those who disagree with me call me names and compare me to unflattering figures, real and fictional. I collect some of these here to show the absurdity of these calumnies:
Osama bin Laden: The Muslim Public Affairs Council produced a poster in 2004 which equated, among others, bin Laden and me. Details at "MPAC on Steven Emerson and Me."
Anwar al-Awlaki: Rep. Keith Ellison (Democrat of Minnesota) draws a parallel in 2011 between me and this Islamist inciter to terrorism. Details at "Keith Ellison, Where Are You?"
Iago: Mohammad R. Salama, Islam, Orientalism and Intellectual History: Modernity and the Politics of Exclusion since Ibn Khaldun, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), pp. 13-14 (available at Google Books) compares me, in the context of a discussion of Islamic studies in the West, to the fictional Iago in Shakespeare's Othello.
There are also those who are mere accomplices to power, who already know the argument before they read the text, and can produce and promote ideas tailored to serve an existing political agenda. They are usually the ones who play the role of Othello's Iago, the knowledgeable villains in a tragedy they may not have sparked but are sure to orchestrate to the end.
It is a tragedy whose most diabolic script can best be shown in Daniel Pipes' following statement: "There is no escaping the unfortunate fact that Muslim government employees in law enforcement, the military, and the diplomatic corps need to be watched for connections to terrorism, as do Muslim chaplains in prisons and the armed forces. Muslim visitors and immigrants must undergo additional background checks. Mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches, synagogues, and temples. Muslim schools require increased oversight to ascertain what is being taught to children."
As history continues to disrupt the neatly ordered speculative structures and theoretical assumptions we cast on ourselves and on others, we yearn for a firm and trusted ground to stand on, especially after Islamic fundamentalism had stood out as extremely hostile to the new world, allowing people like Pipes to inaugurate a new age of "thought police" against all Muslims inside and outside America.
Comment: If I am Iago, who is my Othello? (March 30, 2011)