Daniel Pipes: [The Islamist-Leftist] Allied Menace

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org. Click here for his blog.]

[This version includes some materials cut from the published National Review version.]

"Here are two brother countries, united like a single fist," said socialistHugo Chávez during a visit to Tehran last November, celebrating his alliance with Islamist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Che Guevara's son Camilo, who also visited Tehran last year, declared that his father would have"supported the country in its current struggle against the United States." They followed in the footsteps of Fidel Castro, who in a 2001 visit told his hosts that"Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees." For his part, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez ("Carlos the Jackal") wrote in his book L'islam révolutionnaire ("Revolutionary Islam") that"only a coalition of Marxists and Islamists can destroy the United States."

It's not just Latin American leftists who see potential in Islamism. Ken Livingstone, the Trotskyite mayor of London, literally hugged prominent Islamist thinker Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. attorney general, visited Ayatollah Khomeini and offered his support. Noam Chomsky, the MIT professor, visited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and endorsed Hezbollah's keeping its arms. Ella Vogelaar, the Dutch minister for housing, neighborhoods, and integration, is so sympathetic to Islamism that one critic, the Iranian-born professor Afshin Ellian, has called her"the minister of Islamization."

Dennis Kucinich, during his first presidential campaign in 2004, quoted the Koran and roused a Muslim audience to chant"Allahu akbar" ("God is great") and he even announced,"I keep a copy of the Koran in my office." Spark, youth paper of Britain's Socialist Labour party, praised Asif Mohammed Hanif, the British suicide bomber who attacked a Tel Aviv bar, as a"hero of the revolutionary youth" who had carried out his mission"in the spirit of internationalism." Workers World, an American Communist newspaper, ran an obituary lauding Hezbollah's master terrorist, Imad Mughniyeh.

Some leftists go farther. Several — Carlos the Jackal, Roger Garaudy, Jacques Vergès, Yvonne Ridley, and H. Rap Brown — have actually converted to Islam. Others respond with exhilaration to the violence and brutality of Islamism. German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen termed 9/11"the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos," while the late American novelist Norman Mailer called its perpetrators"brilliant."

And none of this is new. During the Cold War, Islamists favored the Soviet Union over the United States. As Ayatollah Khomeini put it in 1964,"America is worse than Britain, Britain is worse than America and the Soviet Union is worse than both of them. Each one is worse than the other, each one is more abominable than the other. But today we are concerned with this malicious entity which is America." In 1986, I wrote that"the U.S.S.R. receives but a small fraction of the hatred and venom directed at the United States."

Leftists reciprocated. In 1978-79, the French philosopher Michel Foucault expressed great enthusiasm for the Iranian revolution. Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson explain:

Throughout his life, Michel Foucault's concept of authenticity meant looking at situations where people lived dangerously and flirted with death, the site where creativity originated. In the tradition of Friedrich Nietzsche and Georges Bataille, Foucault had embraced the artist who pushed the limits of rationality and he wrote with great passion in defense of irrationalities that broke new boundaries. In 1978, Foucault found such transgressive powers in the revolutionary figure of Ayatollah Khomeini and the millions who risked death as they followed him in the course of the Revolution. He knew that such"limit" experiences could lead to new forms of creativity and he passionately threw in his support.

Another French philosopher, Jean Baudrillard, portrayed Islamists as slaves rebelling against a repressive order. In 1978, Foucault called Ayatollah Khomeini a"saint" and a year later, Jimmy Carter's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, called him"some kind of saint."

This good will may appear surprising, given the two movements' profound differences. Communists are atheists and leftists secular; Islamists execute atheists and enforce religious law. The Left exalts workers; Islamism privileges Muslims. One dreams of a worker's paradise, the other of a caliphate. Socialists want socialism; Islamists accept the free market. Marxism implies gender equality; Islamism oppresses women. Leftists despise slavery; some Islamists endorse it. As journalist Bret Stephens notes, the Left has devoted"the past four decades championing the very freedoms that Islam most opposes: sexual and reproductive freedoms, gay rights, freedom from religion, pornography and various forms of artistic transgression, pacifism and so on."

These disagreements seem to dwarf the few similarities that Oskar Lafontaine, former chairman of Germany's Social Democratic party, managed to find:"Islam depends on community, which places it in opposition to extreme individualism, which threatens to fail in the West. [In addition,] the devout Muslim is required to share his wealth with others. The leftist also wants to see the strong help the weak."

Why, then, the formation of what David Horowitz calls the Left-Islamist"unholy alliance"? For four main reasons.

First, as British politician George Galloway explains,"the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies," namely Western civilization in general and the United States, Great Britain, and Israel in particular, plus Jews, believing Christians, and international capitalists. In Iran, according to Tehran political analyst Saeed Leylaz,"the government practically permitted the left to operate since five years ago so that they would confront religious liberals."

Listen to their interchangeable words: Harold Pinter describes America as"a country run by a bunch of criminal lunatics" and Osama bin Laden calls the country"unjust, criminal and tyrannical." Noam Chomsky terms America a"leading terrorist state" and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a Pakistani political leader, deems it"the biggest terrorist state." These commonalities suffice to convince the two sides to set aside their many differences in favor of cooperation.

Second, the two sides share some political goals. A mammoth 2003 joint demonstration in London to oppose war against Saddam Hussein symbolically forged their alliance. Both sides want coalition forces to lose in Iraq, the War on Terror to be closed down, anti-Americanism to spread, and the elimination of Israel. They agree on mass immigration to and multiculturalism in the West. They cooperate on these goals at meetings such as the annual Cairo Anti-War Conference, which brings leftists and Islamists together to forge"an international alliance against imperialism and Zionism."

Third, Islamism has historic and philosophic ties to Marxism-Leninism. Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Islamist thinker, accepted the Marxist notion of stages of history, only adding an Islamic postscript to them; he predicted that an eternal Islamic era would come after the collapse of capitalism and Communism. Ali Shariati, the key intellectual behind the Iranian revolution of 1978–79, translated Franz Fanon, Che Guevara, and Jean-Paul Sartre into Persian. More broadly, the Iranian analyst Azar Nafisi observes that Islamism"takes its language, goals, and aspirations as much from the crassest forms of Marxism as it does from religion. Its leaders are as influenced by Lenin, Sartre, Stalin, and Fanon as they are by the Prophet."

Moving from theory to reality, Marxists see in Islamists a strange fulfillment of their prophesies. Marx forecast that business profits would collapse in industrial countries, prompting the bosses to squeeze workers; the proletariat would become impoverished, rebel, and establish a socialist order. But, instead, the proletariat of industrial countries became ever more affluent, and its revolutionary potential withered. For a century and a half, author Lee Harris notes, Marxists waited in vain for the crisis in capitalism. Then came the Islamists, starting with the Iranian Revolution and following with 9/11 and other assaults on the West. Finally, the Third World had begun its revolt against the West, fulfilling Marxist predictions—even if under the wrong banner and with faulty goals. Olivier Besançonneau, a French leftist, sees Islamists as"the new slaves" of capitalism and asks if it is not natural that"they should unite with the working class to destroy the capitalist system." At a time when the Communist movement is in"decay," note analyst Lorenzo Vidino and journalist Andrea Morigi, Italy's"New Red Brigades" actually acknowledge the"leading role of the reactionary clerics."

Fourth, power: Islamists and leftists can achieve more together than they can separately. In Great Britain, they jointly formed the Stop the War Coalition, whose steering committee includes representation from such organizations as the Communist party of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain. Britain's Respect Party amalgamates radical international socialism with Islamist ideology. The two sides joined forces for the March 2008 European Parliament elections to offer common lists of candidates in France and Britain, disguised under party names that revealed little.

Islamists benefit, in particular, from the access, legitimacy, skills, and firepower the Left provides them. Cherie Booth, wife of then-prime minister Tony Blair, argued a case at the appellate-court level to help a girl, Shabina Begum, wear the jilbab, an Islamic garment, to a British school. Lynne Stewart, a leftist lawyer, broke U.S. law and went to jail to help Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh, foment revolution in Egypt. Volkert van der Graaf, an animal-rights fanatic, killed Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn to stop him from turning Muslims into"scapegoats." Vanessa Redgrave funded half of a £50,000 bail surety so that Jamil el-Banna, a Guantánamo suspect accused of recruiting jihadis to fight in Afghanistan and Indonesia, could walk out of a British jail; Redgrave described her helping el-Banna as"a profound honour," despite his being wanted in Spain on terrorism-related charges and suspected of links to al-Qaeda. On a larger scale, the Indian Communist party did Tehran's dirty work by delaying for four months the Indian-based launching of TecSar, an Israeli spy satellite. And leftists founded the International Solidarity Movement to prevent Israeli security forces from protecting the country against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorism.

Writing in London's Spectator, Douglas Davis calls the coalition"a godsend to both sides. The Left, a once-dwindling band of communists, Trotskyites, Maoists and Castroists, had been clinging to the dregs of a clapped-out cause; the Islamists could deliver numbers and passion, but they needed a vehicle to give them purchase on the political terrain. A tactical alliance became an operational imperative." More simply, a British leftist concurs:"The practical benefits of working together are enough to compensate for the differences."

The burgeoning alliance of Western leftists and Islamists ranks as one of today's most disturbing political developments, one that impedes the West's efforts to protect itself. When Stalin and Hitler made their infamous pact in 1939, the Red-Brown alliance posed a mortal danger to the West and, indeed, to civilization itself. Less dramatically but no less certainly, the coalition today poses the same threat. As seven decades ago, this one must be exposed, rejected, resisted, and defeated.

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art eckstein - 7/13/2008

Yes, it's great that the Irish voted down the EUC, which makes things difficult for the bureaucrats according to their own rules of unanimity.

No doubt, however, they will find a legal way around the clearly-expressed vote of the populace--as they have done with regard to the French and the Danes. Because, as you say, those votes are only "the little people", and the Mandarins know better...

My point about Leno was merely to give an example showing that Christianity is not now (and has not been for a long time past) at all as violent as Islam currently is. Can you imagine that Leno would even be *alive* if he said negative things about islam the way he castigated Catholic priests night after night for months? Let's ask Theo van Gogh! Oh, wait--he's been murdered for "insulting Islam", and the slogan "Thou shall not kill" was removed by the Dutch govt from the site of his murder on the grounds that this might offend Muslim sensitivities (!!). That was my point. But as you yourself say, "I cannot show here that Christianity is as violent as Islam has become." And, you say, you did not ever mean to imply it. Okay.

John Chapman - 7/13/2008

My “attempt to equate Islam with Christianity and Judaism in terms of violence” is because they’ve all have had violent histories and because they all have one thing in common: belief in the supernatural which historically has spurred emotions and actions which are not inherent in Natural Man . Actually this is probably not the place to discuss the purpose or necessity of religions, or the political models these particular religions represent and the effect they have had on human beings and societies. It would be best for me to frequent another site for that. But you are right, I cannot show here that Christianity is as violent as Islam has become and I never really meant to. I thought the conflict with Israel and Palestine, before the partition in 1949, already had roots both religious and political; which came first I don’t know and may not be important. To answer this better I would have to refer to books I’d read (Mahsin Mahdi, W. Watt, R. Walzer, Rosenthal, and many other names I can’t remember, I don’t have the time).

You keep mentioning the TV clown, Jay Leno, and I agree if you want to raise awareness this is not the way to go about it; you’re not going to appeal to the very people who need to be reasoned with.

How would I propose to fight the threat to civil liberties (in Europe)? This seems almost impossible, short of a state separating itself from the European Union and recovering lost sovereignty with economic consequences of course. Europe is being strangled by a clique of unelected bureaucrats. These regulation-writing mandarins are filled with hubris about the inerrancy of their wisdom and its salutary effects on the little people. To understand the European constitution you would have to have an iron will to plough through about 160,000 words (the American constitution has 4400 words) , as I have, and you can only come to one conclusion: is not an instrument of liberation but only of oppression. Of course, my view lies with the minority; the rest of the politically correct multiculturalists think the future of Europe on its present course will be sunny and exciting. Who knows?

art eckstein - 7/13/2008

The sad *problem* that Pipes is pointing to is that in this crucial struggle for civil rights and human rights and freedom, those who wish to stand up to "the soft jihad" of the Islamists do NOT have the support of much of the Left--which on grounds of "multiculturalism" (and, I think, hatred of western society and history) supports Muslim demands.

This is part of the issue Pipes correctly raises in his article.

art eckstein - 7/13/2008

That is correct, Mr. Chapman: appeasement of the radical Islamists by Europeans (and the West in general) strengthens their hands against 'moderates' and progressives, since they can point to the success they gain in what you have called "the soft jihad."

Therefore, concessions must be avoided, and strongly so. Only a stern and successful opposition, including strong intellectual opposition to Islamist religious totalitarianism as a violation of individual rights (which means ignoring the "group rights" so beloved of the multiculturalists), can strengthen the hand of the progressive forces within Islam (such as they are).

art eckstein - 7/13/2008

Mr. Chapman, much of what you write makes sense, especially about the Left and multiculuralism in Europe, and you are speaking from an experience with Muslims which many disillusioned people have had.

My only concern is with your constant attempt to equate Islam with Christianity and Judaism in terms of violence.

You cite the israeli wars with the Palestinians as if this shows something about modern Judaism, but the Israelis don't fight in the name of Judaism (despite the insane remarks of Omar on this, which are constant); most Israelis, including most Israeli soldiers, are secular.

As for Christianity, you simply cannot show that it is as violent as Islam has become. The 34,000 civilian deaths in Iraq is the UN figure. The Hindu deaths in Kashmir and the Christian deaths in Nigeria were all religiously motivated too. And again, Jay Leno had no problem lampooning the Catholic Church night after night and month after month on American TV, but let Theo van Gogh "insult Islam", and he ends up dead. The violent reaction to the "Mohammad Cartoons" are another example.

The latter two incidents raise a very serious issue. Freedom of speech in Western countries is a precious right, but it is based on the idea that people can live with differences of opinion, and even with insulting differences of opinion. But when the social cost of freedom of speech becomes very high because there is *one* group that responds to any criticism with ultraviolence (namely Muslims), governments will be tempted in the name of "keeping social peace" to repress any criticism. This is happening in Britain, France, and Holland. It is indeed the success of what you call "the soft jihad", whose expansion is furthered by Left-wing multiculturalists, and whose purpose is to give Islam an *absolutely privileged* place within *western* society as *immune from all criticism*, although that is not true of *any* other religion.

Given what you have rightly said above, I would be interested in knowing how you propose we fight this threat to civil liberties, a threat which is--face it--coming from one religious group and one religious group alone?

John Chapman - 7/13/2008

"we are on the brink of the beginning of the reformation of Islam." I hope you are correct. But if the trend of bowing to all of the Muslims demands in Europe continues don't expect the progressive kind of Islamic reformation anytime soon.

John Chapman - 7/13/2008

Mr. Eckstein,

Of course the scale of religiously-inspired violence between Islam and Christianity is different. Yet don’t forget the violence between Israel and Palestine; I see a thin line here between the political model and religion. . The “34,000 Iraqis killed *in the name of Allah*” is a figure, and its attached reason, I’ll just have to take your word for since the accuracy of information that has come out of Iraq is always suspect and nor can I possibly know if the killers had Allah or something else in mind and heart when they murdered. And as for the other point you made that most Christians can and do live with modernity. Yes, I suppose so, many do but many don’t on the surface, that is, until a small almost insignificant incident arises which makes religious intolerance visible even among America’s “moderates”. I speak of the student, Cook, who recently “kidnapped” a religious icon, the Eucharist, and ended up receiving death threats, because the cracker he took, from Catholics all over America.

Mr. Friedman,

Concerning intellectual cover in general by the Left. A couple of years ago, maybe some of my posts can be found here, I was as I see it now, too enthusiastic for Europe’s multicultualist policies but as my work-related travels in Europe progressed my mind was drastically changed seeing first-hand the negative changes, the problems Europe was and is encountering with what I now see as a “soft” jihad throughout parts of Europe because of this unbalanced policy. This view has earned me titles by some of the my own American Left, as being xenophobic, bigoted, hateful and racist. They don’t understand I have nothing against different races or cultures, that harmony is possible as long as there is a strict division between church and state. My big problem is not with people but with religions such as Islam in Europe that tend to trample the rights of “indigenous” Europeans which even some extreme politically correct secular multiculturalists with the Orientalist view say is well deserved because of our past colonial evils. Native born Europeans, a mix of Western tradition Christian and secularist groups in their native lands, have to tread carefully now not to offend immigrant Muslim’s delicate sensibilities often to the detriment of the European’s traditional right to free speech. Yet I still cannot help believe that in the equation, when blame is announced, there is a part missing on both sides of the argument. You said that “a very, very large percentage of Muslims still, to this day, believe their religion is not only a way of life - as we in the West understand religion - but also a political call for militant action against non-Muslims.” This may seem naïve and simplistic to you, but a very large percentage of Christians (not fundamentalists) also believe their religion is also the True religion, as the Pope recently repeated, and thus my reason to believe that religion, Western or Eastern, creates more problems than it solves; it stirs up trouble. I certainly do not claim that “Western religions are uniquely vile”. My claim is that religions are harmful to a world which will need to rely more and more on science and logic to survive, not on supernatural laws where an argument is always impossible. This is not intellectual cover for the Islamic threat, or for the existence of Judaism or Christianity.

Joseph Mutik - 7/13/2008

Judaism and Christianity used to be as violent as Islam. The reformation of Christianity begun with Martin Luther and considering the 600 years delay we are on the brink of the beginning of the reformation of Islam. Almost 99% of the Muslim social, economic and political systems are backward and violently oppose change. My only hope is that the Reformation of the Islamic religion will come soon enough and the violent confrontation between progress and backwardness can be avoided.

Joseph Mutik - 7/13/2008

Your message proves it! Pipes writes in a very balanced and well documented way. Ignoring Pipes is the prerogative of the ignorant.

art eckstein - 7/12/2008

Right, N.F.: I should have written Tariq *Ramadan*, and I should have written "jejune" not "jejeune".

Otherwise, we are in complete agreement...

N. Friedman - 7/12/2008


I do not think it was Tariq Ali who called for a temporary halt to stoning. That was Tariq Ramadan, in a debate with Sarkozy.

Did you mean "Jejune" when you wrote "jejeune"?

As for the topic at hand, there are certainly a good number of left leaning intellectuals who, consciously or unconsciously, provide intellectual cover for the opinions of the Islamist movement. Whether that is because they oppose anything connected with the US on the ground that the US and imperialism and synonymous - a laughable notion to anyone familiar with the history of Islam - or because they hold a third worldist view, thinking that helping "backwards" regions is good policy (thus requiring a certain "tolerance" toward whatever people from such regions write, say and do) or based on reading apologia regarding the Muslim regions and their histories without examining what the views of what historians with a non-apologetic bent and thus concluding that such regions were great bastions of tolerance and peace by modern standards, when it is far from clear that such regions were either more tolerant, overall, or more peaceful (the latter surely not being the case) than other regions of the world.

Another approach is to claim that the Western religions are uniquely vile. That views comes from failing to read the habits of other religious cultures. One might consider the caste system, embraced by a non-Western religion, created by those very very non-monotheistic Indians. One might also recall the systems in place in Japan, with its warrior castes, among other things, and also embraced by religion.

Which is to say, you are quite correct to note that the issue with Islam today is not so much a question of characterizing its history - which had its ups and downs, with periods of considerable tolerance (e.g. under Saladin) and periods of horrid intolerance (e.g. most particularly the late period in Andalusia) and vicious wars to expand the Muslim regions under the banner of Jihad and Fatah - but the fact that a very, very large percentage of Muslims still, to this day, believe their religion is not only a way of life - as we in the West understand religion - but also a political call for militant action against non-Muslims.

art eckstein - 7/12/2008

Mr. Matthewson,

Sir, I'm not a Republican, and if you read the first few postings in this thread in response to Pipes, you will see several Leftists who *do* have a soft spot for Islamic radicalism (e.g., Proyect, Besch, Davis). That's what got the whole conversation started.

art eckstein - 7/12/2008

Mr. Chapman,

1. Yes, I agree that I should have said "many" on the Left.

I was simply reacting to the first few posts which were posted in response to Pipes, and which proved that he was so discouragingly correct about (much of) the Left getting into bed with the Islamists. Reason: For the part of the Left we are discussing, and it is a significant part of the Left, the Muslims are the only anti-American game in town at the moment.

Plus, of course, we're dealing here with sentimental Third Worldism on the Left (Muslims as "victims') and idiotic versions of multiculturalism as well (e.g., Sharia societies are just as good as post-Enlightenment Holland, or, anyway, who are we, inheritors of the evil imperialist capitalist West that we are, to judge sharia-cultures?).

2. I think you make my point about Islam. It is very striking that from your experience, many even so-called "moderate" Muslims in Holland are in favor of the imposition of the totalitarianism of sharia. That is food for thought. That these people are typed as "moderates" by the media clearly involves a lot of wishful thinking.

But I'm not much interested in the 'moderates', actually; it's why I used the term 'progessive Muslims' more. Of course, there are a lot fewer of the 'progressives', even, than the 'moderates'. But my historical point is that this was not always the case, that in the period 1860-1940 the 'progressives' were powerful, and that things could change the present extremely negative, violent and totalitarian trend within Islam. N. Friedman and I had a long discussion here on HNN about a year ago on what would be necessary to bring about that change--what kind of shock.

3. I don't accept your account of Christianity, nor do I accept that most Christians lose the ability to discern the rational from the irrational. Most Christians can and do live with modernity, and the post-Enlightenment view of the sanctity of the rights of the individual; most Muslims cannot (esp. given the "community orientation", i.e., inherent power of the Umma over the individual, within Islam). The different scale of religiously-inspired violence that I pointed to holds as an argument: the last abortion-doctor was murdered ten years ago; the 34,000 Iraqis killed *in the name of Allah* was just last year, to which one must add dozens of Israelis and hundreds of Hindus in Kashmir and India, plus several hundred Protestant Christians in Nigeria. These are "the bloody borders of Islam". It's simply not the same as Christianity as it currently exists.

Again, Jay Leno viciously and hilariously lampooned the Catholic Church pederasty scandal for months on American tv, nighty to millions--no problem. Theo van Gogh, on the other hand, was murdered; the publication of the "Mohammed cartoons" (none of which was especially vicious) led to dozens of deaths from violent ignorant mobs of Muslims, and Bin Laden's son three days ago called for attacks on Denmark (i.e., the murder of thousands of Danes) in response. There's a difference, and it's huge.

But I think we generally agree that Islam is the most violent of the three monotheistic religions. The violent fanatics can point to many Koranic and Hadithic texts to support their violence.

Tim Matthewson - 7/12/2008

What Pipes essay suggests is the desperation of the Republican party and that it is thrashing and flailing about for an domestic enemy to strengthen John McCain, but that the effort is foundering. Liberals, progressives and leftists don't support Islamic radicalism. Like other Americans they were horrified by the attacks on the twin towers and there is not the slightist bit of evidence that they support Islamic Radicalism. Pipes is about as reliable is David Horowitz and both of them deserve to be ignored because they have nothing to say of importance. But I will bet that the wet dreams of Pipes and Horowitz will develop into another effort to slander the Democrats and serve as the basis for another campaign of swift-boating Obama and the Democrats.

John Chapman - 7/12/2008

Mr. Eckstein, we mostly likely agree on most issues about the Islamic threat as Pipes presents it but definitely not on its original cause.

“It is jejeune to equate the violence of Islam as it currently exists with that of any other religion as it currently exists. “

I was not equating anything, I only opinionated that religion was a hoax; in this case the three major monotheistic ones: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the last evolving and plagiarizing from the first two. And hardly a (jejune) puerile opinion. But that is another discussion anyway and I shouldn’t brought it up. I apologize for my comment which, in the heat of the moment, did itself appear as a gross generalization. I was only referring to what I thought was an unfair assumption by you that all people on the Left sided with the Muslim groups mentioned . Many on the Left are not as naive and politically correct towards Islam as you may believe.

If you had originally said ” many” of the Left, I would have made no comment here. However,concerning moderate Muslims, speaking from first-hand experience in Holland, I know that sharia, sometimes in its most intolerant form, is practice here not only by fundamentalists Islamists but also by many, many moderates. They are not being forced into anything just as American Christian fundamentalists are not. Both are reactions to what they perceive as the adulteration of their more primitive forms of Christianity and Islam; one of many reasons for my dislike of all organized religion.

“You may not like monotheistic religions, Mr. Chapman, but to equate their practices as you do and to condemn them all equally--well, in this case the person responsible for gross generalizing is you. “

The three major monotheistic religions can certainly be equated and generalized at one level. Of course the more specific one gets at other levels, there certainly are great differences, today, between the three and I empathically believe Islam the worst of the lot. The argument that Christians and Jews do not fly planes into buildings or behead others in today’s world is irrelevant. Christianity denies cirtical thinking necessary for survival in the modern world. And like Islam, with Christianity one loses the ability to discern the logical from irrational, and to sift out the cheats from the sincere. Christianity is still a missionary religion and as is Islam. The difference between the two is that the intentions of Islam are easier to spot. Both are nothing but political models harmful to society, a way for the ruling class in a given society to use fear, uncertainty and doubt to maintain its stranglehold on the wealth and power in that society.

“The last murder of an abortion-clinic doctor was ten years ago--while meanwhile UN figures give the number of civilians killed in Iraq by Muslim fanatics last year as 34,000. Do you see the difference?”

There are several types of wars going on in Iraq Mr. Eckstein which would suggest have nothing to do with religion, one of them being a civil war.

art eckstein - 7/11/2008

Dear Mr. Chapman,

1. If you look at the first few postings on this topic above, you will see people on the Left, of various stripes, all siding with the Islamists against the U.S. and the West in general. Pipes is pointing to a real problem.

It is not *everyone* on the Left, no. But it is many people, of the type we find above: Proyect (an old-time Stalinist), Besch, Davis. It is ANSWR sponsoring anti-war rallies were "progressives" smile as medieval religious fanatics shout "Allahu Akbar!" It is Timothy Garton Ash equating Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the Muslim murderer of her friend the film-maker Theo van Gogh as "equally fundamentalist", in her case "Enlightenment Fundamentalist". It is other writers on the Left wanting to find Tariq Ali a moderate because he urges a temporary halt to stoning women to deatah for adultery, though his grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood, or finding his uncle al-Banna a "moderate", a kind gentle saintly man--until they find out this elderly pietist views the pilots of 9/11 as heroes...etc., etc., etc.

It's a real problem. Not universal on the left, no--for instance, Michael Walzer. But real.

2. Nor do I generalize about Islam. Islam has the possibility of being moderate under certain circumstances, one can see it in the progressives of Islam today, who were, however, much stronger in the last century. The problem at present is that the discourse is in the hand of imeprialist totalitarians who want to impose a sharia-caliphate on the entire world through their preferred means of ultra-violence. This doesn't have to be the "default-mode" of Islam, but it is increasingly the case--not least because the fanatics think nothing of murdering anyone who disagrees with them (their primary target has been other Muslims), and so have reduced the "moderates" and progressives often to enforced silence. See the article I posted above from the Washington Post by the Muslim writer Fahmy the reasons why there has never been a protest in the Muslim world about televised beheadings.

3. It is jejeune to equate the violence of Islam as it currently exists with that of any other religion as it currently exists. Enraged Episcopalians do not fly planes filled with screaming civilians into office-buildings filled with thousands more screaming civilians. Jews and Catholics do not behead their "enemies" on television in order to recruit for their religious causes. The last murder of an abortion-clinic doctor was ten years ago--while meanwhile UN figures give the number of civilians killed in Iraq by Muslim fanatics last year as 34,000. Do you see the difference?

You may not like monotheistic religions, Mr. Chapman, but to equate their practices as you do and to condemn them all equally--well, in this case the person responsible for gross generalizing is you.

Thus Jay Leno lampooned the Catholic Church night after night during the pederasty scandal, with hilarious viciousness to millions--but it was no problem. But meanwhile Theo van Gogh is *dead*, *murdered* by a man many in the Muslim Dutch communit consider to be a *hero*. And when someone wrote "Thou Shall Not Kill" at the site of van Gogh's murder, the Dutch government whitewahsed the slogan on the grounds that it was culturally insensitive to Muslims.

Get the differences here?

John Chapman - 7/11/2008

Sorry for my typos.

John Chapman - 7/11/2008

Re: Pipes and imperialism (#124824)
by art eckstein on July 7, 2008 at 10:13 PM
"It's a true witches' brew, in which the Left condones and excuses Islamist savagery because (a) the left agrees with the targets the Islamists have chosen, and (b) after all the Muslims are "oppressed" by the West."

"...fact is that for the left, any enemy of the U.S. (or as they see it, U.S. imperialism) will do to get into bed with--even ruthless and totalitarian religious fanatics out of the middle ages. "

These are blanket statements that are supposed to cover all people of the "Left", a term that is useless on this subject.

I am, I suppose, on the Left but I find Islam, as well as the other two religions, Christianity and Judaism, the greatest hoaxes ever to have been hoisted upon mankind and extremely harmful and dangerous to the survival of the human race. Islam is dangerous because the state and the religion go hand in hand -- I see and hear about it every day in Europe where Mulslims practice sharia, where 15-year olds in Holland are already have their marriages arranged. These are moderate Muslims in Holland and I'm sure the rest of Europe has many more examples like this.

Although Pipes is correct that Islam (which I eqate with religion) is a dangerous political model upon which to base a society he loses my support when he lefts the other two two monotheistic religions off the hook. Those political models he seems to approve of.

art eckstein - 7/10/2008

Washington Post
Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page B04

Where's the Arab Media's Sense of Outrage?
By Mamoun Fandy

Mamoun Fandy is a columnist for two daily newspapers, Asharq al-Awsat in London and al-Ahram in Cairo.

The apparent executions in Iraq last week of U.S. soldier Keith Maupin and U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun, and the confirmed beheadings a week earlier of South Korean Kim Sun Il in Iraq and of American Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia, left the media the world over horrified and uncertain about how much should be shown.

Except in much of the Arab world, that is.

As I scanned Arab satellite channels and Arabic newspapers, I found a lot of reporting on the brutal attacks, but very little condemnation and a widespread willingness to run the stomach-turning video and photos again and again.

Showing videotapes of people being shot, beheaded or held hostage with a curved sword aimed at their neck is largely new terrain for the Arab media. As a media critic whose focus is the Arab world, I have watched perhaps a dozen Arab channels and read countless newspapers in recent weeks. I found that few Arab commentators and journalists noted either that major shift or its significance. In particular, the Kim and Johnson beheadings generally have been reported as if they were quite ordinary. (Hassoun's death was announced only yesterday by a militant group promising to release a video soon of his claimed beheading -- undoubtedly to wide coverage again.)

I am aware of only a handful of columnists, most notably the Kuwaiti journalist Ahmed al-Rubai, who condemned the killings unequivocally. Some reporters and analysts intimated to me that they were afraid to denounce the beheadings; others provided distorted coverage that blurred the line between terrorism and Iraqi resistance to the U.S. occupation.

Take, for example, the video of Kim's beheading. Al-Jazeera and the Lebanese LBC presented the video, which al-Jazeera said it had received from a group linked to al Qaeda, as if the terrorists were part of the Iraqi resistance against the Americans and their allies. Al-Jazeera did not note what any person knowledgeable about the region's dialects would have known: that the terrorists who appeared in the video and read the "verdict" that justified Kim's killing were not Iraqi and therefore not part of the Iraqi resistance. They clearly spoke a dialect from the Saudi heartland of Najd.

Al-Jazeera is the same network that calls every Arab suicide bomber a shaheed, or martyr. And yet its anchors take care to refer to Abdul Aziz al-Maqrin, who claimed to have beheaded Johnson, as the "man who Saudi Arabia and Washington call a terrorist."

Furthermore, in a discussion of the violence in Saudi Arabia immediately after the slaying of Johnson, al-Jazeera anchor Abdul Samad Nasser adopted the language of Osama bin Laden and referred to Saudi Arabia as "Jazeerat al-Arab" (the Arabian Peninsula, a reference used in Arabic before the formation of the current Saudi state) as if the state never existed. Perhaps this can be justified in light of the tension between the Qatari government, which owns al-Jazeera, and Saudi Arabia, but it does not explain the distortion or the violent language of that network and other media, including its competitor, the Saudi-financed al-Arabiya satellite channel, which is based in Dubai.

In a search for answers about the Arab media's approach, I went directly to Abdul Rahman Rashed, the head of al-Arabiya, and asked him why most Arab commentators remain silent about these horrific acts of violence and why his channel and al-Jazeera give so much airtime to the terrorists.

Rashed blames both contemporary Arab culture and the culture of Arab newsrooms. He offered two examples -- one from print and the other from TV -- to make his point. He told me that last year, when he was still chief editor of the pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat (for which I am a columnist), he caught one of his editors changing the caption of an AP photo from "an American soldier chatting with an Iraqi girl" to "an American soldier asking an Iraqi girl for sex." "If I had not caught him, it would have gone to print this way," he said.

Now, at al-Arabiya, he has received pictures of Johnson's beheading, but refuses to show them. Al-Jazeera aired the entire video, which Rashed equates with airing the full-length communiques of al Qaeda. Rashed, who took over al-Arabiya a few months ago, said that changing the channel's culture is "a huge challenge." Very few in the Arab media are as candid as Rashed.

I also talked with fellow Arab writers and journalists to seek further answers, and it became obvious that many were outraged over how the beheading stories had been handled and why so many Arab journalists are afraid to express their anger publicly or put it in writing. Considering the history of terrorist movements in the Arab world and the way in which they have targeted writers -- the killing of Egyptian writer Farag Fouda in broad daylight in Cairo in 1992 comes to mind, as does the stabbing of 90-year-old Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz two years later -- their fear is justified. Islamic radicals have killed writers in Algeria, Egypt and elsewhere whose work challenged the logic of martyrdom and "random jihad," or killing foreigners in the name of Islam. But the lack of condemnation of the beheadings, despite their barbarism, is a direct result of a broad and dangerous trend in Arab media and in Arab culture broadly. The Arab world today swims in a sea of linguistic violence that justifies terrorism and makes it acceptable, especially to the young.

One needs only to read the writings of the Syrian Baathist Buthaina Shaban, who is the minister for immigrant affairs but also a syndicated writer whose work appears in many Arab newspapers.

In an article entitled "Blood of Martyrs," published last September in Tishreen, a major state-owned Syrian newspaper, she wrote in response to a Palestinian suicide bombing: "The blood of martyrs inscribes a scroll that can be read only by those with faith in their peoples and in the future of the [Arab] nation, who are convinced that however great their [personal] accomplishments, they are but a single link in the life of the homelands and the peoples. Therefore, they are ready for giving, the utmost of all kinds of giving, so that the scattered drops [of blood] join together to form a stream, then a river, then a gushing torrent."

Articles like this, which glorify death and urge young people to be suicidal, are part of the steady diet that Arab youths are exposed to every day.

Another example: Faisal Qasim, al-Jazeera's most popular talk-show host, recently devoted his entire 90-minute show to berating those who condemn terrorism in the Arab world, whom he called "agents of Washington's neo-cons." He wrote an article that made the same point for the pro-bin Laden newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, whose editor in chief, Abdul Bari Atwan, is a regular guest on al-Qasim's show.

Last month I traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon and saw for myself the effect on the young of the Arab media's tendency, particularly on satellite television, to portray terrorists as resistance fighters and to broadcast in their entirety the videotaped messages of al Qaeda.

One Egyptian student told me the Americans "deserve [killing] for their support to Israel and their occupation of Iraq." A Kuwaiti who recently graduated from a Pennsylvania university said of Americans, "Don't believe them when they say it is al Qaeda that is slaying Americans. It is Americans who are killing Americans to justify their presence in the Arab world and to control Arab oil."

In each country, I was struck that al Qaeda and its ideas are no longer perceived as extreme. Indeed, al Qaeda has become mainstream and being part of the movement is "cool" in the eyes of young people. Why? Arab culture is being corrupted by the media that glorify violence, but also by schoolbooks that present only one role model for Arab children: the Jihadists and those who excelled at battling non-Muslims.

This trend must be reversed -- and the responsibility for doing so lies not just with the media. Unless Arabs themselves muster the courage to speak out against these heinous acts and those who perpetrate them, very little success can be made in the war on terrorism.

The imam of the grand mosque in Mecca has condemned the beheadings, as has the sheik of Egypt's Azhar Mosque. These are important voices, but Arab heads of state must do the same. And if governments condemned these acts, the media would change.

Arabs should stop deceiving themselves by confusing the suffering of Arabs in Iraq and the occupied territories in Israel with the beheading of innocent people in Iraq and elsewhere. (And if al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya were really serious about covering atrocities around the world, they would regularly show footage of the genocidal killing in Darfour, Sudan. Or is that massacre ignored because it is Arabs who are doing the killing?) The Arab media should make it clear that they will not publish hate speech against Muslims or non-Muslims.

The American media also have a role to play. They could make it easier for Arabs unequivocally to condemn beheadings and other acts of barbarism by talking to a broader range of commentators in the region.

If Arab moderates were to become prominent in the West, they would certainly become prominent at home. Instead, the BBC has been treating us to Atwan -- bin Laden's mouthpiece and the main cheerleader of suicide bombers on al-Jazeera -- as its main commentator on Arab affairs. Western media should tip the balance in favor of those who condemn terrorism but so far have been afraid to do so publicly.

The American media should also stop replaying images of violence from al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, because when the Arab media air these gruesome images, they animate the logic of terror. They export fear to America. If the Americans did not import these pictures, the Arab media would stop manufacturing them. That could be a first step toward defeating the terrorists who kill not just for Allah and jihad, but for airtime.

art eckstein - 7/10/2008

Omar, the Islamists who slit throats use those videos as a *recruiting device*. If they are a lunatic fringe, there must be plenty of lunatics to whom these videos appeal.

No *western* terrorists would ever *dare* issue such a video, and none ever has, and they would be condemned immediately by everyone, in horror, if they did. But where are the condemnations of the beheadings of the innocent, or prisoners of war, from prominent Muslims, including prominent religious leaders, Omar? List them! List them! Be specific!

Or else, admit that we are talking about different audiences. And that significant parts of a Muslim audience find the beheadings of prisoners have an attraction, while no one really bothers to condemn what you call lunacy. Because the fact is that those videos are expected to lead to *recruits* for the Islamist cause! Do you really think that they are *misjudging* their audience?

You come from a culture where the slaughter of civilians is *celebrated* by many people, Omar. Not everyone, no--but you need to face facts. And then explain to yourself why this is the case.

But that would require you to look in the mirror. I doubt you know how. After all, you still are comfortable stating that the existence of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an open question.

art eckstein - 7/10/2008

What happened in Abu Graib is bad but it isn't like the torture that went on there before (feeding people into woodchippers, etc), nor is it like the torture that goes on in the dungeons discovered of "Al-Qaeda in Iraq." Yet you have yet to express any concern about the latter. But which atrocity was worse?

As for Israeli actions, I'll just cite the eminent political philosopher Michael Walzer: "When terrorists hide intentionally among a civilian population for the purpose of using them as human shields, while intentionally targetting "enemy" civilian populations from behind those civilian human shileds, and there is retaliation, the moral responsibility for what occurs lies with the TERRORISTS ALONE."

Haven't you seen the videos where these Hamas monsters BOAST of using civilians as shields for their barbaric behavior?

Haven't you read about how Hezbollah hid missles in grammar schools, boasting gleefully that when they shot the missles off, if the Israelis responded there would be an "atrocity" at the school and if they didn't respond for fear of causing an incident that was all to the best as well? This was not in a U.S. newspaper, nor an Israeli newspaper, but in a German one in summer 2006.

Mr. Davis, I don't think you know what you're talking about.

And as for your alleged parallel with settlers on the West Bank, I don't support them and you have no statement from me that I do--while you, Mr. Davis, have stated your support for the Islamists and their world view. I'm not in bed with the settlers; but you are in bed with the likes of Omar. How "progessive" does *that* feel?

Or is it, as I said, that for you, Mr. Davis, any enemy of the U.S. (i.e, for you, "U.S. imperialism") will do to be allied with--even anti-semitic religious fanatics from out of the middle ages?

omar ibrahim baker - 7/10/2008

As long as Abu Ghraib is "Much ado about nothing" then it definitely is a wasted effort to address its source as a human being.

To this same man Deir Yassin must also be "Much ado about nothing" or, at best, a “sorry incidence” for which Israel “apologized”!!

Beheadings are the acts of a lunatic fringe and has absolutely no relation to Islam no matter what islamophopes claim.
However re murder and killing it is pertinent to recall that in Falluga, Iraq, American GIs (members of the official army of the USA) and/or American mercenaries, members of the semi official army of the USA under contract to the government of the USA, shot down and killed conscious and unconscious grievously wounded Iraqi freedom fighters laying down in a mosque and were photographed by a European TV crew.

This film of American bravery was screened then, understandably, hastily pulled out of circulation.

The contrast here is between the acts of an “Islamic” lunatic fringe and the acts and morality of the official and semi official armies of the USA.

Kenneth Laurence Davis - 7/10/2008

The real culprits behind the torture and murder of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and who knows where else, are still at large. They may yet be indicted, but probably not.

Mr. Mutnik says, below, "but no one's throat was cut"... I remember a man's body on ice and something about his being zipped into a sleeping bag and sat upon, beaten... but, his throat wasn't cut. Whew. That would have been barbarous.

It's a knee-jerk response with you people.

Mr. Eckstein, would you have me 'get into bed' with the insufferable Zionist zealot in the West Bank "settlement" who teaches his children that "pals" are dogs? With whom should I be a bedfellow? What if Omar isn't attracted to me, nor I to him?

Israeli civilians don't have to target Palestinian civilians because their government and the IDF systematically do it for them. The method is sometimes more subtle, but there is moral equivalence. Blow up a mother and child with a bomb, for example, or refuse to allow treatment to a pregnant woman in distress at a checkpoint... the crimes of both sides are equally reprehensible. If the situation were more desperate for Zionists, odds are you'd have ultra-Orthodox suicide bombers.

That's all the condemnation you're going to get out of me.

Joseph Mutik - 7/10/2008

First, in Algeria the FLN bombed civilian institutions and killed civilians. Intentionally killing civilians, Muslims or non Muslims, is a normal practice in the Islamic world.
Abu Graib is much ado about nothing. The behavior of the Americans, there, was reprehensible but no one's throat was cut, as the Islamic tradition requires.
About justifying the killing of Jewish women and children, by our Omar, that's beyond comment.

Richard Landes - 7/9/2008

i think you have to be completely ignorant of what goes on in Israel to think that's an appropriate comparison. if you're looking for apartheid in the middle east, then try any arab regime, the more they use sharia, the more formally they adhere to religious apartheid. israel is actually one of the least racist societies around (which does not mean there's no racial prejudice... just in comparison with any other western country (and a fortiori non-western society).

art eckstein - 7/9/2008

1. Mr. Davis writes: "If leftists have joined forces with Islamic fundamentalists, it is probably because, collectively, they desperately want to prevent more invasions."

Exactly--they see the U.S., not radical Muslim terrorists, as the main threat the world faces. That distorted view of the world which the left shares with Muslim fanatics is...well... Pipes' point.

2. We don't have to "forget" Abu Graib, Mr. Davis--that's a straw man. And the proof that it's a straw man is both the investigations that have occurred in the U.S. concerning Abu Graib, and the Boumedienne decision of the Supreme Court. But Mr. Davis, neither should we *equate* Abu Graib with what occurred there under Saddam (feeding people alive into wood-chippers)--or what Islamist terrorists do to *their* prisoners. I'm still waiting for you to condemn the latter, and with the same bitter emotion you condemn much lesser crimes by U.S. soldiers.

3. I remind you, Mr. Davis--with Omar and people like him, you're getting into bed with someone who believes that Jews control the media (sic), the proof of which is that Rupert Murdoch is Jewish (sic), that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion may well be real (sic), and that Israeli Jewish babies and old people intentionally killed by terrorists are "civilians" (in scare-quotes, i.e., not real civilians). Are you really *sure* you want to be in bed with him? Are you *sure* its a good idea either morally or politically for ANSWR to be holding rallies where primitive fanatics from the Middle Ages shout "Allahu Akbar"?

Kenneth Laurence Davis - 7/9/2008

Mr. Davis appears to be living in Plato's Republic, rather than the real world, and demands of the U.S. what no other state is ever demanded to do. I repeat that the Supreme Court decision--extended legal court rights to non-U.S. citizen accused terrorists caught on the battlefield--is an example of the humaneness of American society.

That puts Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito down on the side of inhumanity. Sociopaths. Sounds right.

Nor is it methodologically incorrect to point out to those who criticize American society as fascist exactly what Islamists do with *their* prisoners. We learn through comparison. Yet even when the savagery of the Islamists is pointed out to Mr. Davis, he can't bring himself to criticize them. I'd like to see him do it.

I remember when the Abu Ghraib story broke, the patriots were saying 'yeah, well at least we don't cut people's heads off..!' Oh, with that perspective, with the knowledge of that silver lining, we can just drop the whole thing, yeah? As the torture story has unfolded to this day, it has been and is the same mantra. I might criticize the enemy if my own countrymen - instigators, torturers and excusers - didn't act in such a childish, repulsive, dishonorable manner.

It used to be that only those fundamentalist Muslims who joined terrorist groups were called terrorists by the right. Now the words terrorist and Islamist are used interchangeably (see Pipes, Eckstein). If leftists have joined forces with Islamic fundamentalists, it is probably because, collectively, they desperately want to prevent more invasions.

art eckstein - 7/9/2008

Mr. Davis appears to be living in Plato's Republic, rather than the real world, and demands of the U.S. what no other state is ever demanded to do. I repeat that the Supreme Court decision--extended legal court rights to non-U.S. citizen accused terrorists caught on the battlefield--is an example of the humaneness of American society.

Nor is it methodologically incorrect to point out to those who criticize American society as fascist exactly what Islamists do with *their* prisoners. We learn through comparison. Yet even when the savagery of the Islamists is pointed out to Mr. Davis, he can't bring himself to criticize them. I'd like to see him do it.

As for Omar, his quote speaks for himself. He views all Israelis as legitimate targets for death, including women, old people, children and babies--"civilians" in scare quotes--because they are in his opinion "colons".

omar ibrahim baker - 7/9/2008

Professor Eckstein has an uncanny ability at, if viewed with good will, extrapolating the words of others in a manner to suit his objective.
However when viewed with some objectivity and expressed with honesty, as it should, this ability boils down to an outright perverted reinterpretation of words or, the more likely, a deliberate fabrication verging on falsification, i.e. fraudulent alteration.

Witness the following; Professor Eckstein asserts:

-“yet on HNN on May 28 (entry #123154) he (Omar) described Jewish elderly, women, children and babies intentionally murdered by Islamic terrorists as "civilians" in scare-quotes, i.e., as not really civiians.”
( Re: Pipes and imperialism (#124834)by art eckstein on July 8, 2008 at 10:07 AM)

_“d. Omar often dares to argue that "Islamic terrorism" is somehow some sort of canard created by the West and the Jews, yet on HNN on May 28 (entry #123154) he described Jewish elderly, women, children and babies intentionally murdered by Islamic terrorists as "civilians" in scare-quotes, i.e., as not really civiians.”
(Re: Pipes and imperialism (#124834)by art eckstein on July 8, 2008 at 10:07 AM)

Whereas my specific words that he seems to refer to, the last paragraph in post #123154, were:

-“ Zionism thus managed to make of all the “colonialist community”, the Israeli people, the prime enemy and that explains the disproportionate number of “colonialist” /”civilian” and other casualties”

Which words should be read and construed in their full context, post # 123154, or the paragraphs leading to the last sentence which reads:

“With the “colonialist community "becoming a majority (in Palestine) upholding the objectives of the colonialist conquest and defending it, the “colonialist community “ itself , as much as its armed forces became the prime enemy.

This is markedly different from the case of conventional colonialism wherein the prime enemy is the armed forces, frequently assisted by the “colonialist community”.

Hence in, say, the case of Algeria or Angola the liberation war effort was directed at the their armed forces defending their respective” colonialist communities”, always a minority of the total population, and NOT the French or Portuguese people.

Zionism thus managed to make of all the “colonialist community”, the Israeli people, the prime enemy and that explains the disproportionate number of “colonialist” /”civilian” and other casualties”
( Re: P.S. (#123154)by omar ibrahim baker on May 28, 2008 at 1:12 AM)

How honestand objective was PROFESSOR Eckstein in his “interpretation”
cum “extrapolation” of my words in the two above quotations which specifically refer to post #123154 , an “interpretation” that was, incidentally, repeated more than once in more than one post, is something I leave the general reader to appraise for himself.

Kenneth Laurence Davis - 7/8/2008

"2. It is a mark of the humaneness of American society that the Supreme Court would extend legal and courtroom rights which the Constitution guarantees to U.S. citizens even to those who are terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. In Omar's culture, enemy combatants (and even non-combatants) tend to be beheaded. On television. As a recruiting device. So let's keep perspective."

I don't need the Constitution or the Supreme Court to know what is just. To know that the rights the Constitution 'guarantees to U.S. citizens' would be mine or anyone's with or without the Constitution. I will not congratulate a government for protecting my or anyone else's rights, citizen or not. For being 'humane'. This is what they are supposed to do, at the most fundamental level, and for anyone, accused of anything.

It is unbecoming to point at another's sins in order to distract from one's own, and call it 'perspective'.

art eckstein - 7/8/2008

1. Omar, as usual, has a difficult time reading carefully. The position he ascribes to me--equating the U.S. with "U.S. imperialism"-- is the one I ascribe rather to the left, and it is precisely this lefist equation that helps explain their alliance even with blood-drenched medieval religious fanatics, since the latter are the biggest anti-American movement now around, and are "third worlders" to boot.

2. It is a mark of the humaneness of American society that the Supreme Court would extend legal and courtroom rights which the Constitution guarantees to U.S. citizens even to those who are terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. In Omar's culture, enemy combatants (and even non-combatants) tend to be beheaded. On television. As a recruiting device. So let's keep perspective.

3. For those of you who do not know Omar, I would make the following points about him

a. This is a man who asserted as a fact, in conjunction with his theory of Jewish control of the western media (later modified to undue influence over the media) that Rupert Murdoch (the most powerful media mogul in the world) was a Jew. His source: various anti-semitic websites.

b. When shown that there is no evidence of this, and plenty of evidence suggesting the opposite, Omar then asserted that it remained an open question whether Murdoch was a Jew, because many people (i.e., on the anti-semitic websites Omar surfs) believe it.

c. Similarly, Omar stated that whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were authentic or not--scholars long ago proved them a fraud concocted by the Tsarist secret police--whether the Protocols were authentic remained as far as he was concerned also an open question, since many people (i.e., on the anti-semitic websites Omar surfs) believe it.

Omar said all these things two weeks ago on HNN.

d. Omar often dares to argue that "Islamic terrorism" is somehow some sort of canard created by the West and the Jews, yet on HNN on May 28 (entry #123154) he described Jewish elderly, women, children and babies intentionally murdered by Islamic terrorists as "civilians" in scare-quotes, i.e., as not really civiians.

Now you folks know exactly what Omar is. So, my leftist friends: do you really want *this* man as your ally?

omar ibrahim baker - 7/8/2008

"The terrible fact is that for the left, any enemy of the U.S. (or as they see it, U.S. imperialism) will do to get into bed with--even ruthless and totalitarian religious fanatics out of the middle ages. ...."

Thus spake Eckstein!!

Once again, being part of Pipes' ilk, he equates Americanism with American imperialism.
He, and ilk, can not conceive of a non imperialist America!

Then , thus moans Eckstein:
"and--even under Bush--continues to guarantee the rights not only of U.S. citizens but even of blood-drenched terrorists who aren't even U.S. citizens."

Patently Eckstein will be much happier , and reality will be less "terrible", IF their "rights" are NOT guaranteed but summarily violated.

art eckstein - 7/7/2008

All of the above posts demonstrate in a depressing fashionl that Pipes is indeed correct about the leftist-Islamist alliance. It's a true witches' brew, in which the Left condones and excuses Islamist savagery because (a) the left agrees with the targets the Islamists have chosen, and (b) after all the Muslims are "oppressed" by the West.

The terrible fact is that for the left, any enemy of the U.S. (or as they see it, U.S. imperialism) will do to get into bed with--even ruthless and totalitarian religious fanatics out of the middle ages. The leftists' sense of proportion has been ost. It has been undermined by their hatred of the very society that supports them and--even under Bush--continues to guarantee the rights not only of U.S. citizens but even of blood-drenched terrorists who aren't even U.S. citizens (see the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Boumedienne).

Randll Reese Besch - 7/7/2008

Pipes shows here that he can combine oil and water with the best of them. He confuses support of revolution over oppressors with endorsments of the new oppression. (He doesn't give later quotes to see if Komini was still lauded) He also makes it clear that if you are Islamic you are automatically the enemy to be put down. (The new version of the old saying, "With the only good Islamic is a dead Islamic," being American policy?) A Christian crusade in effect. Odd that the Islamists have more in common with the Christians that attack them than the Marxists isn't it?

He tries to bamboozal the reader by throwing in a lot of different "leftist" sentiment in support of new regimes over thowing old ones created and supported by the USA like Iran. [See 1953.]

See we are conspirators and traitors to be captured and whisked away to one of the black torture prisons the USA runs all over the world! Just as all of the fascist right wingers say we are. Pipes is an historian even if he is also a mouthpiece for the present criminal administration. Also I would ask Pipes when was the last time Iran attacked and occupied any country? When was the USA last to do it? Who is the terrorist rogue nation here?

Louis Nelson Proyect - 7/7/2008

I think it is an exaggeration to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. Apartheid South Africa is more like it.

Michael Green - 7/7/2008

The more serious problem is Daniel Pipes. I consider myself well to the left politically and have no more use for Castro, Chavez, or the insane Islamic leaders than I do for John McCain demonstrating all of the ethics of a prostitute in Times Square on Saturday night (except she earned her reputation while McCain still has a reputation for principle among those who don't know any better--but I digress), or for that matter Mr. Pipes.

But what Mr. Pipes does not reckon with is, as the previous commenter said, WHY we have these issues with other countries and peoples. And the answer is as plain as the nose on your face. We propped up the dictators overthrown by Castro and the Iranian Revolution, among others, and those dictators were evil. I perfectly understand why the U.S. wants leaders in other countries to dance to our tune or at least be sympathetic. But if those leaders are removed from power or lose their power, we should not be surprised when those who replace them target us as their enemy. That is simply a matter of common sense--which Mr. Pipes ideally has, because he seems not to know much about American diplomatic history.

omar ibrahim baker - 7/7/2008

With an unusually long, verbose and redundant post Pipes fails to answer the question he posed himself:
-WHY the Islamist/Leftist
"alliance" ??

Ranging far and wide Pipes had many things to say, mainly through others, except the obvious:
The two common enemies confronting both; namely:
-Western, but mainly, US Imperialism
-International/Israeli Zionism.

Both of whom, US imperialism and Zionism, are bound to each other by an ideological/interests serving
"alliance" much firmer and , historically, longer standing than any thing that binds Islamism to leftism.

The danger of Pipes for the uninitiated is that he deliberately, though implicitly,but consistently
identifies and equates "American Imperialism" with America and Zionism/Israel with Judaism.

This equivalence is patently bogus; America is NOT necessarily,invariably and irrevocably imperialist nor are Jews necessarily and irrevocably Zionist.

However it is equally blatantly self (Zionism) serving in that it insidiously implies, and tacitly fosters, the impression of a mutual, reciprocated, identification between Americanism and Zionism.

Richard Landes - 7/7/2008

i've put up a post on this article. we're dealing with a combined repetition of the leftist appeasement of the nazis, and fellow traveling with the communists.

part of what's so astonishing is that not only do we not learn from history, we are forbidden to: the politically correct tell us: "how dare anyone compare anyone with the nazis" (except of course Israel). it's as if the past is so bad it must be repeated because we can't believe that it's happening again.