M. Shahid Alam: Under Attack by Fox News

Historians in the News

From an interview with Daniel Pipes on the Fox News show hostd by Bill O'Reilly (as reprinted on Campus Watch) (2-2-05):

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East forum and campus-watch.org. Mr. Pipes, who is M. Shahid Alam?

DANIEL PIPES, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: Professor Alam is an economist teaching at Northeastern University. He is a poet, and he writes history. He is a combination of a Marxist and a radical Muslim, someone who sees the Western colonial enterprise as the source of all the problems of the non-Western world. He sees it being the problem in the eighteenth century, he sees it as the problem today. Whatever goes wrong with the world is our fault.The United States as the leading Western country is, of course, the leading source of problems in the world. He has great antagonism toward this country, though I might add, he's an immigrant to this country.

O'REILLY: He's an Egyptian born, right? Is he an American citizen now? PIPES: I can't tell you exactly.

O'REILLY: OK, we know he's an Egyptian, but we don't know if he's an American citizen. Now Northeastern University, very, very buttoned down about this guy. I mean, they don't want to give us any information. We finally got a statement from Genevieve Haas in the media office there. And basically free speech, free speech, free speech. But they don't want to say anything about him. But he's been a bomb thrower, you know, for quite sometime, has he not?

PIPES: They say he's speaking for himself, not for the university and that they believe in free speech, as you said.

Yes, he has been throwing bombs for quite some time. I've been doing some research on him today. And there are some really strong statements.

He's a good writer. He's fairly prolix. If I read you quotes, they would take us through the hour. But he has a venom towards the United States. Let me read you one. Most Americans are kept in the dark,he writes,"unaware of the actual, the real America, the only kind seen by much of the rest of the world. This is the America that daily employs its might to mangle the lives of hundreds of millions, that pushes a globalization that devastates the economies of the Third World, that instructs and arms foreign tyrannies to terrorize their own people." That?'s the kind of statements that he makes.

O'REILLY: All right, would it be fair to say that this professor is rooting for the terrorists to win the war on terror? Would that be fair to say?

PIPES: I don't know that he's actually gone that far. But he justifies them and says they are good people and their cause against us is righteous. I don't, I can't say he's actually come out and...

O'REILLY: All right, so he hasn't gone as far as Ward Churchill out at Colorado University by saying that the people killed?Americans killed on 9/11 were, deserved their death and were pawns and all of this. This guy, Alam, he walks a line by saying that we?re the bad country. And it?s understandable that we'd be attacked. Is that...

PIPES: We're under, right, we're under a bad system. Americans are suffering from this terrible capitalist system as well as the rest of the world. Americans: rise up and see your problem.

He has an interesting comment. He doesn't write much about himself, but he's lived in many countries around the world and wherever he went, the United States created problems for him. And then finally, he came to the United States because this was the country where he would have less problems. But since 9/11, even here he has the same problems.

O'REILLY: What problems does this guy have?

PIPES: Well...

O'REILLY: He's got a got cushy job at Northeastern University. He says anything he wants to say. What problems does he have?

PIPES: Well, Bill, the fact that you as a journalist and me as an analyst are critiqued all the time is OK, but he is a professor. You know, he shouldn't be. This, what we're doing...

O'REILLY: Oh, he doesn't like...

PIPES: ...is impeding his freedom of speech.

O'REILLY: Well, he ran today behind the ACLU, interestingly enough, because we were talking to him. We wanted to get him on and, you know, figure out who this guy is. And he says, listen to this. He e-mails us, and he goes, he e-mailed us to all his supporters, whoever they may be. Does this guy have like a club or something? Is there a Professor Alam Club that he deals with?

PIPES: Not that I know of, no.

O'REILLY: How does he get his word out? Is he on some crazy Internet site?

PIPES: Far point, exactly. There are a number of far-left Internet sites. But the one that he most uses is something called 'Counterpunch.' Vicious, vicious, vicious.

O'REILLY: OK, anti-American site. So he says, this guy Alam says,"I received an e-mail from FOX News asking for a TV interview. They were producing a program on me. At this point I spoke to the ACLU, advised me against going on the program. I received the same advice from other friends. I wrote back to FOX saying I could not do the interview. Clearly, they have designs against me. It appears that Bill O'Reilly is doing a series of un-American professors on U.S. campuses. And I expect he will make all kinds of outlandish accusations that will resonate well with the left- and Muslim-hating members of his audience."

He doesn't know the left from the right. The left is kind of sympathizing him. It's the right that?'s not going to like you there, professor, but that's OK.

PIPES: Note that he calls it a fatwa. You're engaged in a fatwa against him.

O'REILLY: Yes, well that's, isn't that the usual game that if you criticize what these people say, then you're anti-Muslim, correct?

PIPES: One other point that I think is worth making: You acknowledged that you accepted that Ward Churchill's had all sorts of death threats. I would challenge that.

I mean, I don't know the specifics, but when I started Campus Watch a little over two years ago, the professors that I discussed claimed that they'd been threatened and threatened and threatened. And I completely condemn that, as you have. But I also questioned it. And I asked them for proof. Show me that you've actually had death threats. Show me the reports...

O'REILLY: Well, it could be a canard, but I have to say I get death threats all the time. And I know what that?s like. So if Churchill says he gets them, and I know he's had some vandal, they vandalized his car or something. And I know the guy's under extreme pressure. So I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Pipes, thanks very much. And Mr. Alam up there in Northeastern, you're welcome to come on any time you want and explain yourself, sir.

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