Sunday, January 2, 2005

Pipes vs CAIR: bring it on

Daniel Pipes, who thinks Iraq should be ruled by a strongman because Iraqis cannot handle democracy, who systematically misrepresents news sources to make his polemical arguments, and has become an apologist for Japanese internment during World War II, now accuses the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of materially aiding and abetting the terror attacks of 9-11:

86. Council on American Islamic Relations and CAIR Canada (collectively, CAIR), have aided, abetted, and materially sponsored and al Qaeda and international terrorism. CAIR is an outgrowth of the Hamas front group the Islamic Association of Palestine. The FBI's former associate director in charge of Investigative and Counter-Intelligence Operations described the Islamic Association of Palestine as an organization that has directly supported Hamas military goals and is a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants. It has produced videotapes that are very hate-filled, full of vehement propaganda. It is an organization that has supported direct confrontation.

87. CAIR and CAIR-Canada have, since their inception, been part of the criminal conspiracy of radical Islamic terrorism. These organizations play a unique role in the terrorist network. They emanate from the notorious HAMAS terrorist organization and like so many of the terrorism facilitating charities named and indicted by the United States government they are engaged in fund raising under the guise of assisting humanitarian causes they are, in reality, a key player in international terrorism. The unique role played by CAIR and CAIR-Canada is to manipulate the legal systems of the United States and Canada in a manner that allows them to silence critics, analysts, commentators, media organizations, and government officials by leveling false charges of discrimination, libel, slander and defamation. In addition, both organizations have actively sought to hamper governmental anti-terrorism efforts by direct propaganda activities aimed at police, first-responders, and intelligence agencies through so-called sensitivity training. Their goal is to create as much self-doubt, hesitation, fear of name-calling, and litigation within police departments and intelligence agencies as possible so as to render such authorities ineffective in pursuing international and domestic terrorist entities.

88. The role of CAIR and CAIR-Canada is to wage PSYOPS (psychological warfare) and disinformation activities on behalf of Whabbi-based [Wahhabi-based, DP] Islamic terrorists throughout North America. They are the intellectual "shock troops" of Islamic terrorism. In the years and months leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 these organizations were very effective in helping to ensure that North American law enforcement and intelligence officials were sufficiently deaf, dumb, and blind to help pave the way for the attacks on the United States. The role played by these entities is an absolutely essential part of the mix of forces arrayed against the United States as they help soften-up targeted countries so as to facilitate and enhance the likelihood for a successful attack.

CAIR, which defends the civil rights of muslim-americans from the rising tide of anti-muslim hate[1], is an admittedly flawed organization at the level of its national leadership. I debated the role of CAIR in response to critics and drew the important distinction between some of the rhetoric by its leaders and the important work it does on the ground. I also dispute the assertion that CAIR receives funding from explicitly Wahabist-terrorist sources and that CAIR is sympathetic to the terrorists who hate America.

Pipes talks incessantly about the need for moderate muslims to take control over their extremist brethren - but then championed the denial of Tariq Ramadan entry to the United States. Tariq Ramadan has castigated muslim anti-semitism and exhorts European muslims to integrate with their host cultures. This is not good enough for Pipes, presumably because Ramadan is unabashedly proud of being a muslim in addition to being a moderate, and will not surrender his religious identity or beliefs by renouncing the Qur'an as the word of God or the divine authority of the Holy Prophet SAW. This is akin to an expectation that religious christians renounce their belief in Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour who died for their sins, in order to escape suspicion of being Timothy McVeigh-style separatist white nationalists.

Pipes's appointment to the US Institute of Peace (USIP) by President Bush (which was made as a recess appointment in order to escape confirmation hearings which would have exposed Pipes to questioning about his extremist anti-muslim agenda) is the single reason that the Administration deserves no benefit of the doubt for its rhetoric on its commitment to improved relations with the muslim world. I greatly admire President Bush's personal convictions, especially his strong leadership after 9-11 in calling for Americans to see their muslim co-citizens as fellow victims of terror rather than scapegoats. But as long as voices like Pipe's are representative of US policy, then there can be no compromise.

Daniel Pipes is an enemy of Muslim Americans, because he would have us renounce our faith. He cannot conceive that I can be a practicing muslim and a loyal American simultaneously - and voices like Tariq Ramadan, who champion precisely that synthesis, are ones he actively seeks to silence rather than promote. CAIR as an organization has its share of fools, but in an era where 27% of Americans think muslims should be required to register with the federal government, it is far more an honest and authentically American institution (as a protector of civil rights and the very liberty that we Americans hold so dear) than the sham USIP.

And by Pipes' own rhetoric and beliefs, which place him at odds with successful elections in Iraq, make him as susceptible to charges of aiding and abetting the terrorists as anyone else.

It is my hope that this lawsuit against CAIR gets immense publicity indeed. Daniel Pipes may get hosannas from preaching to the crowd at LGF, but the court of mainstream public opinion (well, at least 73%, anyway) is a different matter.

We muslims should also note that the Jewish comunity, especially the Anti-Defamation League, have been defending themselves from precisely this kind of groundswell of hate for decades. If we can work together with them in mutual respect, we have much to learn. We should build bridges to the Jewish community whenever possible because in solidarity with them we will find strength.

UPDATE: Though I had linked it above when I posted this entry, let me draw attention again to this debate at where I acknowledge the CAIR leadership's intellgience vacuum, but defend the broader organization's purpose. In the context of the rising tide of anti-muslim hate in this country, CAIR remains the only group (at the individual chapter level) that muslims can turn to for support. I encourage readers who are interested more in my opinion of CAIR to visit the debate thread, I will post an updated defense of CAIR that takes some of the counter-arguments in consideration. Note that Paul "Bird Dog" who authored the thread and I have pretty much distilled our disagreement about CAIR to whether or not it can be proven that the group receives money from (specifically) fudamentalist Wahabi groups in Saudi Arabia or not. If such a link can be proven, then my position towards CAIR would harden dramatically. Anecdote and inference are not proof, however, and not all Saudi money is tainted (just ask the Committee to Re-Elect George W. Bush). I have not seen even the slightest shred of evidence - or even an attempt - to prove that CAIR actively supports terror activities by poroviding them material aid, which is why the lawsuit can be dismissed completely as a vendetta rather than a serious attempt to prosecute.

[1] see my series on anti-muslim hate: 1, 2, 3.


  1. Joshua,
    You raise some good points, and I look forward to Aziz' response. I think some of Pipes' suggested questions to identify Muslim moderates are leading or ones a true believer might have to give the "wrong" reply to:
    -- "Is jihad, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today's world?" As I understand it, "jihad" doesn't necessarily mean warfare, it means struggle.
    -- "Do you accept the validity of other religions?" Do Falwell or Graham either, really? I don't like those bozos either, but I wouldn't make that particular question the litmus test.
    -- "Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Islam, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding terrorism should be shut down?" If Pipes means routine extra scrutiny just for Muslims, I guess I'm not for it either. If mere accusations can lead to a shutdown, I'm against that, too -- whether or not a government official looks me "hard in the eye" and assures me they're true.


    One thing I'm not clear on is whether Pipes is a party to this lawsuit or just reporting on it positively.

  2. Also Thomas, only one of the three questions you raised was actually a question Mr. Pipes asked.

    If you reread the questions carefully, you'll notice that Mr Pipes did not ask whether "jihad" is acceptable, but whether specific terrorist groups are acceptable. The only mention of the word 'Jihad' was in the names of those specific groups.

    And in the place of your second question, I think Mr. Pipes actually meant to ask about tolerance of other religions (and of governments run by nonmuslims - see the next paragraph) not about the religious validity of other religions. It's common for Islamic countries to mandate Islam and even a specific form of Islam and to punish or even kill those who wish to leave Islam and those who wish to critisize the official form of Islam.

    Also, since the stated aim of the militants is to impose their form of Islam over the whole world (even Shiek Yassin of Hamas in Palestine stated that Hamas would fight until "the flag of Islam flies over the entire universe!"), the context of his "Goals in the West" question was not "Do you accept the validity of other religions" as you assumed but rather something like "do non-Muslim people have a right to self determination?"

  3. Thomas, ok you're right that he did ask those questions as well, although in the case of the jihad question, he specified which meaning of the word he meant. If you think that Muslims don't understand that Jihad can commonly mean warfare in their own religion then you've been misinformed. It often means warfare in mainstream Sunni and Shiite Islam therfor specifying that specific meaning of the word would not be offensive to a Muslim, if he is being honest.

    And yes, you're right that more orthidox religious people of any religion are likely to say that everyone else has an invalid religion... Still, it's a question worth asking since someone who views other religions as valid would be unlikely to wish to suppress the rights of people who subscribe to them. The "Goals in the west" question asks the more specific question whether the person accepts the validity of self rule by nonmulisms which IS QUITE OBVIOUSLY the real crux of the problem militant Muslims have with, well the whole world.

  4. Thomas, I've been burned before by Joshua Scholar in a transparent attempt to build up his LGF street cred, so it's not worth the investment to engage him in discussion. I don't believe he debates in good faith and would caution you likewise.

    You did a fine job of pointing out the inherent traps in Pipes "moderate muslim questionaire" - though you should also see what Zack had to say about it at the time. He took the trouble of actually answering the questions - and in doing so illustrating how asinine they really are.

    Also, Kynn of Shock and Awe recast Pipes' questions towards Christianity, as a thouught experiment as to whether such a test has any value in distinguishing Christian "moderates" from their extremist fringe (such as Timothy McVeigh).

    The main point though is that Pipes no longer deserves benefit of the doubt as to his intentions. His statement regarding the need for a strongman in Iraq betrays a fundamentally hostile worldview towards the Islamic world. His well-documented misrepresentation of facts (kudos Scott Martens) in order to further his arguments betrays his polemical agenda. His occassional protestations of respect for muslims should be considered in the context of his "loyalty" expectations towards them. And the example of his jihad against Tariq Ramadan illustrates precisely how blinkered his view is towards any muslim who is a moderate and does speak out against anti-semitism and terror and speaks of the importance of integration and assimilation into the west, but who also is unabashedly a believer ad who does not reject their cultural and religious heritage solely to satisfy Pipes' notions of loyalty.

    Pipes would have us American muslims replace devotion with nationalism. I choose devotion and patriotism instead.

    as an aside, Zack's comment thread rerads like a whos who of the Brass Crescent :) Even Joshua makes an appearance, lambasting Zack for not dropping all his obligations in a rush to answer his charges, and then calls Pipes an "asshole". Go figure :)

  5. their extremist fringe (such as Timothy McVeigh).timothy mcveigh was an atheist.


  6. By the way, Aziz's characterization of the posts he removed was completely false.