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Poland's Border Shapes the Future of Migration

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 24, 2021  •  Newsweek

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The troubling scene along Poland's border with Belarus turned the problem of illegal migrants into political ammunition. It changed attitudes with likely long-term implications for immigration to Europe.

Immigration has become an ever-growing, impassioned issue that divides Europeans. Broadly speaking, the Establishment (what I call the 6Ps: the police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors) welcome immigration, legal or not, as a source of vitality for an increasingly aging continent, an engine of multicultural diversity and a way for former imperialists to assuage their consciences. In contrast, a growing body of dissidents sees immigration as a source of crime and disease, a challenge to traditions and a civilizational threat.

This debate peaked in 2015-16, when Angela Merkel, the powerful chancellor of Germany, unilaterally opened her country's borders to migrants, dragging much of Europe with her. As illegals became legals, the split in attitudes among Europeans became more intense, with a Willkommenskultur—or welcoming culture—emerging in Germany even as fences went up around Hungary.

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The Liverpool Bomber and Fake Muslim Conversion to Christianity

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 21, 2021

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The case of Emad Jamil Al Swealmeen, 32, highlights the danger of Muslims fraudulently converting to Christianity.

Swealmeen came to public attention on Nov. 14, when he (probably inadvertently) detonated an improvised explosive device outside Liverpool Women's Hospital at 10:59a.m. as he rode in a taxi, just seconds before the national two minutes' silence for Remembrance Sunday at 11a.m., killing himself and wounding the taxi driver. The police believe he was an Islamist and a jihadi. His biography is worth noting:

After arriving legally in Britain from Iraq in 2014, Swealmeen, in the words of the Times of London, "was taken under the wing of a retired senior British army officer after visiting Liverpool's Anglican cathedral and expressing an interest in converting from Islam to Christianity." That officer, Lt. Colonel Malcolm Hitchcott, 77, recalled (again, in the words of the Times) "how Al Swealmeen arrived at the cathedral in August 2015 saying he wanted to convert. Hitchcott, who was helping to hold Bible classes for asylum seekers, said the visitor took an Alpha course to teach him about Christianity. He was confirmed as a Christian in March 2017" at Liverpool's Anglican cathedral. At that time, he changed his name to the more European sounding Enzo Almeni.

The Times continues:

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Will Islam Survive Islamism?
More Muslims fear and reject a radical version of Islam

by Daniel Pipes  •  November 15, 2021  •  Washington Times

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The Islamist movement, which seeks to apply medieval Islamic laws and build a worldwide caliphate, has expanded massively in the past half-century. But it now faces a significant and growing counter-movement, especially in Muslim-majority countries. Growing numbers of Muslims, spurred by shocks like the fall of Kabul, fear and reject this radical version of Islam. Awareness of the anti-Islamist surge has been largely limited to those directly involved but it deserves to be much better known.

Anti-Islamism comprises four complementary trends. Going from quietest to most radical, they are: moderate Islam, irreligiosity, apostasy, and conversion to other religions. All have an international presence but, for illustrative purposes, I shall focus in each case on a key Middle Eastern country: moderate Islam in Egypt, irreligiosity in Turkey, atheism in Saudi Arabia, and conversion in Iran.

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How to Live as Long as Methuselah
Sample the Nation of Islam diet, as prescribed by Elijah Muhammad

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 27, 2021  •  American Spectator

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The Nation of Islam (NoI) has great importance as the bridge for many black Americans to move from Christianity to normative Islam (i.e., the global religion dating to the 7th century.) Despite its name, NoI has only slight overlap with normative Islam, especially as practiced under its long-time leader, Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975). He developed some creative concepts almost completely unrelated to those of normative Islam, such as "black gods," "blue-eyed devils," and an extraordinary set of rules about proper diet.

Those rules apparently originated in vague form with the NoI's founder, the mysterious W.D. Fard (c.1877–c.1934), who banned eating pig and other "poison animals": duck, goose, opossum, and catfish. In a two-volume book titled From God in Person. Master Fard Muhammad. How to Eat to Live (1967-72), Elijah Muhammad then expanded on these basics, adding many more rules, discouraging or prohibiting a vast array of foods, while ascribing all these regulations to Fard, whom he called "Allah."

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Colby College Signals "Conservatives Need Not Apply"

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 26, 2021  •  National Association of Scholars

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Colby College's department of history just routinely announced a position for visiting assistant professor in Middle East/Islamic History for the 2022-23 academic year. Routine, but also notable.

Four decades ago, I might have applied for this post and perhaps even have won the chance to fill it. These days, though, the job description makes clear that I, as a conservative scholar, would have no chance. Note the bolded elements in the announcement screaming out "conservatives need not apply":

  • The Department is a community of engaged teacher-scholars.
  • We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates who will bring to the classroom experiences, identities, ideas, and ways of engaging that will resonate with History's, and Colby's, increasingly diverse student body.
  • We are searching for candidates with great potential to be innovative, effective, and inclusive teachers of history.
  • [The candidate's] statement of teaching philosophy and the statement of research interests should demonstrate commitment to the values of diversity and inclusivity.

While seemingly innocuous, such terms as engaged, identity, diversity, and inclusivity actually exclude anyone not on the Left. Indeed, "diversity, equity and inclusion" (or DEI) is the progressives' main workplace mantra.

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Middle East Migrants: Stay in Your Culture Zone
Middle Easterners need to take responsibility for their brethren

by Daniel Pipes  •  October 3, 2021  •  American Spectator

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As the prospect of great numbers of Afghans fleeing their country – five million have been mentioned – comes into focus, a near-universal assumption exists that the West – meaning here Western and Central Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – should be their ultimate destination. But does this make sense?

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review of Yemen: What Everyone Needs to Know

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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The author, a young scholar at Princeton University, disdains non-specialists on Yemen ("most Westerners," he notes, "can scarcely find [it] on a map"), and he rejects nearly everything that we think we know about the current situation (i.e., who is making war on whom, the nature of the Houthi movement). Orkaby is also fiercely protective of Yemenis, to the point of apologetics:

Rather than be defined by violence and fighting, tribal life is a rich cultural experience. Communal dances, poetry recitations, religious education, and the elaborate celebrations of life milestones and holidays are important parts of idyllic tribal life and manifestations of Yemen's rich cultural and social history.

Idyllic?

Fortunately, Orkaby himself provides the evidence to refute such silliness. For example, he writes,

As late as 2010, the Yemeni government continued to perpetuate the false generalization that their country has no ethnic groups and is en­tirely homogenous, when in fact Yemen has longstanding and in­stitutionalized racism based on loose historical backgrounds and skin color.

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review of The Fight for Iran: Opposition Politics, Protest, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Nation

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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Berman, senior vice president at the American Foreign Policy Council, has usefully and briefly compiled information on leading Iranian opposition groups and the challenges facing them in this collection of previously published essays. His interest derives from the possibility that "these in­dividuals and forces could very well end up inheriting the Iranian nation."

Berman begins by summing up key characteristics of four external oppositionists. The last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi, stands out for his vision "of nonviolent resistance to Iran's clerical regime." In contrast, the Mujahideen-e Khalq, the most high profile and controversial of exile groups, "is convinced that the Iranian regime is simply too bru­tal, too entrenched and too invested in maintaining its hold on power to be removed solely by peaceful means. The al­ternative could well be armed resistance, and here the MeK holds a distinct advantage."

Then, there is the Iranian-American activist, Masih Alinejad, who focuses her social media prowess on combating the mandatory women's head-covering in Iran aiming "to harness this discon­tent into a broader, crowdsourced anti-regime movement." Lastly, Mariam Memarsadeghi and her Tavaana initiative hope

to build capacity within Iranian society through civic education and public dialogue on topics like women's rights, Islamic reform and democratic values, issues which remain generally taboo within the Islamic Republic.

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review of Iran Is More than Persia: Ethnic Politics in the Islamic Republic

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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The enigmatic title means that Persian-speakers make up slightly less than half of Iran's population; more bluntly, Iran is not a country but an empire. If the great sea empires (British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish) nearly disappeared sixty years ago, the great land empires (with the exception of the Russian, mostly gone thirty years ago) live on, conveniently hiding under their contiguity: the Chinese, Ethiopian, Burmese, and Persian.

Shaffer provides a much-needed summary of the Persian Empire, laying out how, in all respects but power, Persians are a minority: geography, demographics, linguistics. Because they rule, however, Persian-speakers can discriminate in all the usual ways against the empire's minority peoples, including the Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, Lurs, Gilaks, Mazanis, Turkmans, and Baluch. They deploy negative stereotypes ("portraying Arabs as primitive and extremist and Azerbaijanis as stupid"), engage in environmental degradation, prohibit instruction in local languages, import allied forces from Lebanon and Iraq to quell disturbances, assassinate anti-regime expatriates, and encourage Persian-speakers to move into majority-minority regions. Just as in China, political activity to promote ethnic minority cultural and language rights is condemned as "separatism." To make matters worse, even the Persian-speaking opposition shares this outlook.

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review of Fertility and Faith: The Demographic Revolution and the Transformation of World Religions

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University in both title and in reality, announces at the start an intuitively obvious but powerful generalization: "High-fertility societies ... tend to be fervent, devout, and religiously enthusiastic. Conversely, the lower the fertility rate, and the smaller the family size, the greater the tendency to detach from organized or institutional religion." Or, more succinctly, "fertility and faith travel together."

The bulk of Jenkins' study then works out the sometimes counterintuitive implications of this thesis, for example, "What separates the winners and losers in the religious economy is not the soundness of their theology but their fertility rates." Or this: "religions have to evolve new means of presenting their views" if they wish to survive and succeed. Or "security and stability tend to reduce fertility" (and thereby faith).

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review of The Rise and Fall of Greater Syria

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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On the positive side, Rise and Fall meticulously traces the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), one of the Middle East's most interesting organizations, through the decades, and especially the years 1932-59, documenting its twists and turns as it sought either to overthrow the existing order in Lebanon and Syria or retreated back to a more cautious stance. Yonker, a lecturer in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Tel Aviv University, is true to Israel's Germanic scholarly tradition.

On the negative side, Yonker's disappointing study follows those twists and turns without seeing their larger significance for the two countries most involved or the surrounding region. His book reads like a cross between a medieval chronicle and an overly-long graduate student paper. Lists of facts, members, and other pedestrian data will leave most readers wondering why they should care about the SSNP. A typical sentence informs us that SSNP candidates for the Lebanese parliamentary elections in 1953 "were selected at a joint meeting of the Higher Council and Council of Deputies presided over by 'Abd al-Masih and included Adib Qadurra (Beirut—fourth district), Asad al-Ashqar (Metn), 'Abdallah Sa'adeh (Koura), Ali Halawa (Tyre), and Nadhmi Azkul (Bekaa el-Gharbi)." So engrossed is Yonker in these minutiae, he devotes only a few paragraphs to the larger topic of the SSNP's lasting impact on Levantine politics.

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review of A Prophet Has Appeared: The Rise of Islam through Christian and Jewish Eyes, A Sourcebook

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Middle East Quarterly

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Shoemaker, a professor of religious studies at the University of Oregon, has written several path-breaking books on early Islam; here, he complements them with a sourcebook collecting and translating twenty contemporaneous texts by non-Muslims (all Christians and Jews) about the first century of Islam. These have exceptional importance because the entire Muslim historical tradition relies on accounts from centuries later which are, as Shoemaker puts it, "notoriously unreliable." In contrast, "all the relevant contemporary witnesses to the rise of Muhammad's new religious community" come from non-Muslims. Better yet, they often confirm each other, for example, about the central importance of Jerusalem among Muhammad's followers. The result is a marvel of concision and originality; best of all, it is readily accessible to the general reader.

Those twenty excerpts tend to be brief; Shoemaker helpfully introduces each one, provides the passages in translation, and then draws conclusions. But the most eye-popping insights come in the course of his substantial introduction to the volume. Some examples:

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The Wreckage of Endowed Chairs

by Daniel Pipes  •  Fall 2021  •  Academic Questions

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For some years, select historians have bemoaned the direction of their discipline. They regret the turn away from war, diplomacy, economics, and ideas in favor of gender, environment, race, and sexuality as they bemoan the decline in student interest. Niall Ferguson titled his critique "The Decline and Fall of History." Hal Brands and Francis J. Gavin wrote "The Historical Profession Is Committing Slow-Motion Suicide." The Economist announced "The study of history is in decline in Britain."

While the glittery allure of fashionable topics and social-justice group-hugs drive this trend, a less visible economic factor enables it: many university-based historians have no need to attract students or readers. Assured funding from endowed chairs liberates them from having to address anyone other than fellow professional historians. Deans do not demand they fill classrooms; spouses do not clamor for royalties.

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Atheism among Muslims Is "Spreading Like Wildfire"

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 19, 2021  •  National Interest

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Ex-Muslims are publicly flaunting their rejection of Islam as never before: a steamy tell-all memoir that tops the country's best-seller lists; one video (with 1.5 million views) showing a copy of the Koran ripped into pieces; another video with a woman in a bikini cooking and eating bacon; and blasphemous cartoons of Muhammad.

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Nation-building in Afghanistan, Iraq Was Never Going to Work
America cannot repair every enemy

by Daniel Pipes  •  September 19, 2021  •  Washington Times

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As usual, after World War I, victors plundered losers, especially the German one. The victors demanded the payment of huge reparations; under one plan, German payments would have continued until 1988. This scheme turned out catastrophically, partially laying the ground for the yet more horrible carnage of World War II.

Learning from this mistake, American leaders in 1945 did things differently: instead of plunder, they took the radical and unprecedented step of rehabilitating the defeated countries in the image of the United States.

This innovation turned out astonishingly well; as hoped, Germany, Japan, Austria, and Italy became free, democratic, and prosperous. (It also inspired a 1959 Peter Sellers' comedy, The Mouse that Roared, in which an impoverished microstate declares war on the United States to benefit from its largesse.)

Funding defeated enemies also became assumed, even routine American policy, and came to be known as the Pottery Barn rule: "You break it, you own it." In 2001-03, when U.S.-led coalitions overthrew two hostile governments, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Americans as a matter of course occupied these two countries, re-wrote their constitutions, armed and trained their forces, nurtured new leaders, and showered them with money.

But 2001-03 fundamentally differed from 1945 in deeply important ways.

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