Daniel Pipes—profiled as “the country’s most controversial Middle East scholar“—is stirring debate again, taking to The Jewish Press to advocate a ban on wearing the niqab and burqa—clothing traditionally worn by Muslim women—in public spots. He says too many Philly crimes (including the recent kidnapping of a girl from her school) are taking place under, literally, the cover of Muslim garb.
It’s important to understand, though, that Pipes’ “crisis” looks a little less disturbing when looked at closely. He justifies a ban because, by his count, at least 14 robberies have been committed in Philadelphia using Muslim garb … since 2007. That’s less than three a year. If you need more perspective, consider this: The 14 robberies that Pipes counts adds up to maybe one really busy shift for the police department. In the 28-day period ending Feb. 17, there were 507 robbery reports to city police—if 14 of those robberies had been committed by burqa-wearing assailants, that wouldn’t even be 3 percent of the total. Trying to calculate what those 14 cases look like compared to six or more years of robberies? You couldn’t even see a number that small with the naked eye.
11 September 2012
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), has received funding from anti-Islam groups in the United States, Reuters reports. Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia based think tank The Middle East Forum, admitted to funding Wilders’ legal defense against charges of inciting racial hatred. Pipes declined to reveal the quantity of his contributions. David Horowitz also reported paying Wilders “a good fee” for two speeches, as well as to covering a security fee to the Philadelphia police department incurred for protests surrounding Wilders’ public appearance. Both Pipes and Horowitz denied funding Wilders’ political activities in the Netherlands, and Wilders responded that he never requests a fee for speaking engagements, though travel and accommodation expenses may be paid. Legislation is currently in process in the Dutch parliament to force parties to reveal their donation sources.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced that Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) has cancelled a scheduled appearance at an “anti-Islam” conference in Washington DC, hosted by a right-wing think tank headed by Daniel Pipes, who is regarded by many as one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes. Specter was to give the opening address at the conference, but cited a “scheduling conflict.” The premise of the conference, called “Libel Lawfare: Silencing Criticism of Radical Islam,” is that American Muslims are involved in a concerted effort to suppress free speech by misusing the American legal system. “We applaud Senator Specter’s decision to withdraw from this inaccurate, inflammatory and agenda-driven conference,” said CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Justin Peyton. “We strongly support free speech and other First Amendment rights, but believe the senator’s appearance at this event would have legitimized views not shared by the majority of Pennsylvanians of all faiths,” said a spokesperson for CAIR.
Outspoken American conservatives including Michael Savage and Daniel Pipes are among the voices that apparently cannot get enough of the topic of Barack Obama’s religious identity. Among the claims being made, include the following: He’s a Muslim. He was sworn into office on the Koran. He doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. His pastor is an anti-Semite. He’s a tool of Louis Farrakhan. He’s anti-Israel. His advisers are anti-Israel. He’s friends with terrorists. The terrorists want him to win. He’s the Antichrist. Obama has repeatedly stated that he is a Christian, and has always been a Christian, and presently belongs to the United Church of Christ. The smear and fear about his religious affiliation is causing an uproar among some conservative Americans, unsure of how to trust a promising presidential candidate that the United States has never seen before – with an Arabic middle name, a father who was from Kenya, and has spent time living and studying abroad. Such new-ness is causing not only confusion, but rumors. Daniel Pipes argues that Obama should Obama have ever been a Muslim in his lifetime and is currently an apostate of Islam, that this may cause anger among some Muslims over his apostasy – a crime within Islam. Others like Michael Savage insist that Obama is hiding something over his religious background. Nevertheless, it is clear that many in America’s political arena are still unsure of how to approach, listen, and trust a candidate that brings, at least superficially, characteristics that have never been seen in such a promising and popular presidential candidate.
Hussein Ibish, founder of for Arab-American leadership in Washington DC told an audience at Tulane University that America’s cultural view of Islam and American Muslims is steadily deteriorating under an onslaught of bigotry in news programming, op-ed pieces, and in the blogosphere. Since 9/11, he said that commentators such as Malkin, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz have transferred old anti-Arab stereotypes to Islam in “incredibly bigoted commentary” that would not have been tolerated before September 11th, 2001. “This is what explains the collapse of the good name of Islam,” said Ibish, who also believes that with this context, the West sees Islam as constantly suspicious, which thenceforth only further legitimizes the calls for ethnic and religious profiling.