The Daniel Pipes apologetic article from Flemming Rose/Jyllands Posten
by : Sept
Monday February 6, 2006 - 02:38
Flemming "Muhammad cartoons" Rose traveled to Philadelphia in 2004 in order to meet Daniel Pipes (the neo con who’s advocating to keep US muslims in concentration camps). Here’s the translation of the article that ensued.
Translation by Nina.
The Threat of Islamism by Flemming Rose Jyllands-Posten 29. Oktober 2004
According to Daniel Pipes, the Muslim world at the moment is trying, for the third time, to define itself in relation to the West. The two first attempts aimed at (or resulted in) imitating various aspects of the West. The third represents a totalitarian ideology, commensurate to fascism and communism.
Philadelphia. There is no name sign on the door, and it is locked. The visitor must pop in at a neighbor’s to verify that the address is correct. Yes, that it is for sure. The Middle East Forum and Daniel Pipes are staying on the tenth floor of an anonymous skyscraper, just a stone’s throw away from the building where the Fathers of the Nation assembled in 1787 to set down the country’s foundation. Down on the street, a few middle-aged women are trudging away with voting posters in favor of John Kerry, who is in town to kick off the finish of his campaign. Pennsylvania is one of the so-called "swing states” (proper expression?) that may well determine the outcome of the presidential election next Tuesday.
For Daniel Pipes himself, there is no doubt where his sympathy lies. He will vote for George W. Bush and describes himself as conservative. The 54-year-old historian, whose areas of special interest are the Middle East and the Middle Ages, has since 1994 headed the think tank "The Middle East Forum”, which aims at "defining and facilitating American interests in the Middle East”. Pipes spoke and wrote about the threat of islamists long before September 11. Already in 1995 he observed that they had initiated an undeclared war on the U.S. and Europe.
Pipes’ voice is so quiet that it is almost drowned out by the buzzing noise of the air conditioner in the modest office, but nevertheless, this voice, soft as velvet, has caused uproar in academical, left- wing and certain muslim circles. When Pipes talks about militant islam at universities, his critics threaten with uproar and boycott. His appointment last year by President Bush as leader of the government’s think tank, US Institute of Peace, triggered great clamor, and it is not coincidental that there is no name sign on the front door of the think tank’s office.
A totalitarian ideology
For 20 years, Pipes has written and talked about militant islam as a totalitarian ideology commensurate to fascism and communism. His perspective on ideas, history and politics does not stem from far away. Daniel Pipes’ father is Richard Pipes, one of the 20th century’s foremost experts in Russian and Soviet history, who, opposed to the spirit of the 1960s and 1970s, insisted on the totalitarian nature of the Soviet regime and its hostile attitude towards the liberal democracies of the West.
The son recognizes his father’s influence. "The islamists’ agenda is way different from that of communists or fascists. It is about belief, and as opposed to communism and fascism, they don’t have large countries such as the Soviet Union or Germany behind them; but if you look at their methods and their goals, the likenesses are striking”, Daniel Pipes says. "All three ideologies are radical utopias which, at their core, have a theory for how the human race can be improved. No more, no less. All three are dominated by a small, chosen elite that shall bring the great idea to life. They are ready to resort to all conceivable means; they are true believers, fanatics, and they don’t hesitate to resort to force and brutality to accomplish their project. They do not respect other perspectives and wish to control all sides of life. Once they have succeeded in one country, their ambitions are to extend it to other [countries]", he adds. "It makes sense to look at the current conflict between the civilized world and militant islam in the light of the two earlier confrontations with communism and fascism. One of them we were able to defeat in a total war over a relatively short period of time, whereas the other conflict, the Cold War, lasted for decades. In this third confrontation, militant islam is the challenge. The core of militant islamic ideology is hidden in the expression "el Islam wul hal”, which means: Islam is the solution. No matter what the context, education, upbringing, romance, work, public or private matters - Islam has the answer. This is a recipe for a totalitarian ideology.”
Something else than terror
Daniel Pipes’ fascination for islam and the Middle East started when he lived in Egypt in the early 1970s. Back then, he did not perceive islamism as a threat. That first happened with the islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat two years later and a surge of violations of American interests in the region.
Pipes thinks that it is misleading to talk about the current conflict with islamists as a war against terror. He points out that wrong definitions and terms lead to erroneous proposed solutions. When President Bush cites the numbers of killed Al Qaida leaders to state how well the war on terror is going, he misses the mark (goes in the wrong direction). "That does not say anything - or at least very little. It is a euphemism, a paraphrase, to talk about a "terror threat” or a "war against terror”. Terror is a policy, not an enemy. We don’t say either, here in the U.S., that the Second World War was about sneak attacks. It was a war against fascism”, argues Pipes.
Moderates must be supported
He stresses that the conflict is not directed at islam as a personal belief, but at militant islam, an aggressive political ideology striving for the establishment of islamic law, sharia, throughout the world. This difference bears in itself the seed of the conflict’s solution. "If militant islam is the problem, then the opposite, namely moderate islam, must be the solution”, Daniel Pipes concludes. "I don’t mean to say that islam, once and for all, is condemned to be on a collision course with the modern world. The majority of muslims do not wish to live in a regime such as under the Taliban in Afghanistan. We have millions of muslims on our side. If you look at it this deeply (?), the current conflict is one that must be fought out and won within the muslim world.” According to Daniel Pipes, it is now important to find alternative leaders and ideas that can take up the fight against militant islam. "In the confrontations with fascism and communism, we were victorious because we succeeded in marginalising the enemy’s ideology and making it look repulsive in the majority’s eyes. In 1991, the Soviet leaders no longer believed in their system. We are also obliged to convince the islamists of the fact that they are wrong. We have to find alternative leaders in the islamic world, in the same way that Konrad Adenauer emerged in Germany and Boris Yeltsin in Russia. There are two steps: on the one hand, we must overthrow the ideology by force of arms and by means of education, media and information; and on the other hand, we must support anti-islamist muslims, who wish to keep their faith, but do not wish to live under islamic law - in much the same way as we supported Anti-Communists and Anti-Nazis in the Soviet Union and Germany respectively. In the end, it is a fight between two visions about the muslims’ place in the world.”
Not in the nature of Islam
Daniel Pipes recognizes that the current situation does not exactly gives rise to optimism, but he is nevertheless convinced that the muslim world will, sooner or later, define itself in a positive way in relation to the modern world. "The existing situation does not arise from to the nature of islam. On principle, Judaism is also a (lovbærende? "law-bearing”) religion just like Islam, but they succeeded in finding a coexistence with modern life. Islam’s current situation is the result of an historical development. If you and I were having this conversation in the 1930s, we would have singled out Germany’s and Japan’s problems with modern life, but those were temporary. We would also, maybe, have been attached (?) to the Turk leader Kemal Atatürk’s attempt to build an alternative, secular model for the islamic world. At this moment, this idea is unfortunately not considered especially attractive in the Middle East. The islamists’ ideas seem so much more timely and attractive”, declares Pipes.
He subsequently gives us a course in the history of the islamic world
But that should not be seen as a reason to lean back and wait for things to happen by themselves, Pipes thinks. He is amazed that Europe is not more alarmed about the challenge that Islam poses, considering plummeting birth rates and a weakened perception of its own history and culture. "This is one of the biggest stories in our time. The reactions in Europe are bafflingly relaxed. There is much denial at work. It is paradoxical that muslims come from countries that are weaker in economic and political terms, but within the rich and strong Europe, show more cultural ambitions than the Europeans. That baffles me as an American. Europe has been the driving force of history throughout the past 500 years, but now it looks as though it will go the other way. Here in the U.S., the situation is far from being as dramatic.” According to Daniel Pipes, muslims do not account for more than about one per cent of the (U.S.) population, 3 to 4 million people, and their social status is different from what it is in Europe. "There are groups that speak for islam at schools and intimidate politicians and muslims who insist on their right to free speech. Militant islam has an extensive non-violent agenda. Muslims in the U.S. consist of two groups, immigrants and Americans converted to islam. Muslim immigrants have a higher social and economic status than they have in Europe. There are doctors, engineers and others with professional education making serious money.”
Daniel Pipes has taken on a large part of the academic world. He is critical of much of the research undertaken in the Middle East studies and thinks it has overseen or ignored important movements, but in other areas have been all too quick to ascribe a modernising or democratising effect to fundamentalists. It has, he thinks, often been politicising with a liability to a left-wing twist. "Left- wingers are unhappy with the society formed in the West, but conservatives are content. Left-wingers’ discontent and feelings of guilt often makes them go too far in their accommodation of opponents. They seek understanding and compromise, whereas conservatives are more inclined to take on a confrontation. People in Middle East Studies have not perceived the hostile and violent elements in radical Islam. They have ignored Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, widespread anti-Semitism, slavery in Sudan, the cultural repression of Berbers in North Africa, and they have attempted to convey the impression that the word "Jihad” means something entirely different than military efforts to extend Islam’s territory. Some simply think that Jihad is about becoming a better person. As if the Palestinians’ Islamic Jihad uses the word in the sense of becoming better men.”
Facts ("blue book”)
Daniel Pipes, 54 years. Educated in history at Harvard University. Has held positions in the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Since 1994, he has concentrated on the operation of the think tank "Middle East Forum”, as well as of an unusually popular website, www.danielpipes.org, that receives more than 2 million hits per year. Pipes also has 20.000 subscribers to a free newsletter on the web. He established the Middle East Forum at his home with two friends, but during the day, he stays at a select address in central Philadelphia, has 15 employees and a budget of more than 1 million dollars. Pipes has authored 12 books, the latest being "Minatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics”.
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