Daniel Pipes: Middle East Forum Launches "Islamist Watch" Website
Islamist Watch asserts that nonviolent radical Islam is more likely to alter the makeup of Western society over time than is terrorism. For while it is relatively easy to mobilize public opinion against terrorist groups, no institutions exist to counter the demands of non-violent extremists. Lawful Islamists lobby for legislation, influence curriculum and media content, advancing their agenda patiently, through non-violent means, bringing about fundamental changes in society. They also use"lawfare" (aggressive legal maneuvers) to close down academic, media, and political critics.
As a consequence, writes Daniel Pipes:"Quietly, lawfully, peacefully, Islamists do their work throughout the West to impose aspects of Islamic law, win special privileges for themselves, shut down criticism of Islam, create Muslim-only zones, and deprive women and non-Muslims of their full civil rights."
Recent examples of lawful Islamism include:
- Leading Muslim students in prayer at a public San Diego elementary school.
- Allowing cab drivers in Vancouver, B.C. to refuse certified guide dogs for reasons of religious conviction.
- Admonishing doctors and nurses in Scotland to refrain from eating in front of their Muslim patients and colleagues during the month of Ramadan.
- Proposing in the Netherlands that people of all faiths refer to God as Allah in order to" create more dialogue."
- The Archbishop of Canterbury's arguing that adopting elements of Shari'a law in Britain would benefit social cohesion.
- Allowing members of polygamous marriages to claim extra welfare benefits in Britain.
- Sponsoring a Muslim lifeguard program for the benefit of private female sessions at the city pool in Mississauga, Canada.
- Dropping Knorbert the piglet as mascot of Fortis Bank for fear of offending Muslims.
The website makes an original contribution to the study of lawful Islamism, and expands the project's reach by:
- Publishing original and commissioned work on the Islamist push in the West;
- Cataloguing, under"Creeping Dhimmitude," examples of the West's misguided efforts to accommodate radical Islam; and
- Posting research and updates relative to lawful Islamist organizations.
The website provides news concerning the Middle East Forum's Legal Project, established to protect in courts of law those researchers and analysts working on the topics of terrorism, terrorist funding, and Islamism.
Islamist Watch assistant director John Matthies says that"as radical Islam comes to rely on nonviolent means to impose an agenda and chill discussion, it is necessary to monitor Islamist groups full-time. The website will allow us to report our findings and serve as a resource on Islamist movements."
Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes adds that"the Islamist Watch website will invite the public to better understand the threat posed by non-violent, political Islam to civil society and the rule of law."
Legal Project director Brooke Goldstein asserts:"The Islamist lawfare challenge poses a serious threat to our democratic freedoms. Should the voices of counter-terrorism researchers and activists be silenced, a real possibility exists that the criticism of radical Islam within our borders will end. The Islamist Watch website compliments our efforts to spread awareness about this threat and to publish updates on our work."
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