This is a perceptive article, showing that sugar-coating harsh realities and pretending that unpleasant facts don't exist opens doors and gets you accolades -- but is it worth it at the price of the truth?
According to the article, Pipes makes two glaringly false assertions. First: "He suggested it is Islamism, a political ideology, that inspires hatred of 'the other,' rather than Islam....He emphasized that while Islam has existed since the age of the prophet Mohammed, Islamism is a recent phenomenon and need not be considered an authentic expression of Islam."
Need not be considered an authentic expression of Islam by whom? By Muslims? Yet so many do, all around the world. By non-Muslims? What would that accomplish, since so many Muslims think it is an authentic expression of Islam, except to render us complacent in the face of the jihad threat?
And anyway, is "Islamism" really not an authentic expression of Islam? In fact, political Islam and violent Islam go back to Muhammad, who massacred the Qurayzah tribe and the Jews of Khybar, left oceans of blood in his wake. In Medina he started waging war against non-Muslims, and he explained to his followers that they should offer those non-Muslims three choices:
Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war.…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to accept Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…. If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya [poll-tax on non-Muslims]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them. (Sahih Muslim 4294)
As Robert Spencer explains, "the choices for unbelievers are thus to convert to Islam; or submit as inferiors to Islamic rule, paying the tax and accepting the discrimination that Islamic law mandates for non-Muslims in the Islamic state; or die. Those are the only choices offered. Islamic law doesn’t envision a situation in which Muslims live together as equals with non-Muslims without any plan to impose Sharia upon them now or in the future."Spencer also rejects the Islam/Islamism distinction: "...the distinction is artificial and imposed from without. There are not, in other words, Islamist mosques and non-Islamist mosques, distinguishable from one another by the sign outside each, like Baptist and Methodist churches. On the contrary, 'Islamists' move among non-political, non-supremacist Muslims with no difficulty; no Islamic authorities are putting them out of mosques, or setting up separate institutions to distinguish themselves from the 'Islamists.' Mevlid Jasarevic [a jihadist in Sarajevo] could and did visit mosques in Austria, Serbia, and Bosnia without impediment before he started shooting on Friday; no one stopped him from entering because he was an 'Islamist.' And so to say we must work with ordinary Muslims while eschewing collaboration with Islamists is not precisely a distinction without a difference, but a distinction that is practically imperceptible and, in many cases, in fact not there at all."
And Andrew Bostom adds: "One must ask, 'What Went Wrong' with Daniel Pipes who now sprays (Edward) Saidian charges of 'essentialism' at brave Muslim freethinkers like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan, as well as the stalwart Dutch politician Geert Wilders, for simply rejecting his self-contradictory mantras on 'Islamism.'"
Even worse, Pipes "said the religion of Islam itself is not inherently hostile to Jews, and Muslim anti-Semitism scarcely existed before the establishment of the state of Israel."
Amazing. Is he unaware of the Koran's terming the Jews the "worst enemies" of the Muslims (5:82), or saying that Allah cursed them and turned them into apes and pigs (2:62-66; 5:59-60; 7:166)? Where is Pipes on that and so much more Koranic antisemitism? Has he never heard of the genocidal hadith in which Muhammad said that “the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” (Sahih Muslim 6985)?
Has Pipes never read Bat Ye'or or Andrew Bostom on Islamic antisemitism, or Sir Martin Gilbert's history of the Jews in Muslim lands, In Ishmael's House? All of them show that Jew-hatred is a constant of Islamic history. Pipes thinks it started with Israel? What about the pogroms conducted by Palestinian Muslims against Palestinian Jews in the early 20th century -- the wholesale slaughter of Jews as prescribed and preached by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who lived in Berlin during the war, made broadcasts in Arabic for the Nazis, and raised up an SS division of Bosnian Muslims?
Historian Phillip Hitti states: “The caliph al-Mutawakkil in 850 and 854 decreed that Christians and Jews should affix wooden images of devils to their houses, level their graves even with the ground, wear outer garments of honey color, i.e. yellow, put two honey-colored patches on the clothes of their slaves, … and ride only on mules and asses with wooden saddles marked by two pomegranate-like balls on the cantle.” Andrew Bostom's work shows much more. 1000 years later, in 1888 a Tunisian Jew lamented a similar situation:
The Jew is prohibited in this country to wear the same clothes as a Muslim and may not wear a red tarbush. He can be seen to bow down with his whole body to a Muslim child and permit him the traditional privilege of striking him in the face, a gesture that can prove to be of the gravest consequence. Indeed, the present writer has received such blows. In such matters the offenders act with complete impunity, for this has been the custom from time immemorial.
In 1291 Isaac ben Samuel, a Palestinian Jew, said: "In the eyes of the Muslims, the children of Israel are as open to abuse as an unprotected field." The philosopher Maimonides said: “You know, my brethren, that on account of our sins G-d has cast us into the midst of this people, the nation of Ishmael, who persecute us severely, and who devise ways to harm us and to debase us.…No nation has ever done more harm to Israel. None has matched it in debasing and humiliating us. None has been able to reduce us as they have.…We have borne their imposed degradation, their lies, and absurdities, which are beyond human power to bear.”
On December 30, 1066, four thousand Jews in Granada were killed in a pogrom by Muslim mobs. The Muslim chronicler Abd Allah said that the mobs “put every Jew in the city to the sword and took vast quantities of their property.”
Were they enraged because Israel was going to be founded nearly 900 years later?
Pipes is tolerated, Geller is not by Farzana Hassan, Toronto Sun, May 16, 2013
Two renowned Jewish Americans spoke about the issue of Islamic radicalism in the GTA this week.
Both recognize Islamism as a threat to peace and security; both acknowledge the existence of peace-loving Muslims, who must join hands with others fighting extremism; both wish to defend Western values.
Yet one speaker is tolerated more than the other.
Pamela Geller, blogger and author, is known for her virulently anti-Islam views. She was effectively barred from speaking at a Thornhill synagogue by York Region police.
This was followed by a rebuke from the Toronto Board of Rabbis to the Jewish Defense League, for hosting Geller at the Zionist Centre in Toronto. The board was afraid this might exacerbate already tense relations between Jews and Muslims in the GTA.
Meanwhile, The Muslim Committee Against Anti-Semitism, under the umbrella of the Canadian Thinkers Forum formed by Tahir Aslam Gora, invited Daniel Pipes to speak on Wednesday, May 15 on the causes of anti-Semitism, why it now exists predominantly among Muslims and what can be done to counter it.
Pipes is the founder and director of the Middle East Forum and an acclaimed scholar. The Muslim Commitee Against Anti-Semitism is a group of Muslims newly formed to oppose anti-Semitism.
Pipes takes a conciliatory approach towards the fraying dynamics between Jewish and Muslim communities. He also appears sanguine about an Islamic reformation.
At his lecture, he took a sympathetic view of mainstream Muslims by drawing a distinction between Islam and Islamism. He suggested it is Islamism, a political ideology, that inspires hatred of “the other,” rather than Islam.
He said the religion of Islam itself is not inherently hostile to Jews, and Muslim anti-Semitism scarcely existed before the establishment of the state of Israel.
He emphasized that while Islam has existed since the age of the prophet Mohammed, Islamism is a recent phenomenon and need not be considered an authentic expression of Islam.
To be sure, many Muslims may disagree with his distinction, believing instead that Islam is an ideology and Islamism its mere execution.
While Pipes is soft-spoken, Geller is fiery and provocative.
Geller criticizes Islam point-blank and makes no distinction between Islam and Islamism.
In her speech, recorded by the website BlazingCatFur, she insisted jihad is inherently violent and that Islamic terror is a major threat to Western values, peace and security. Geller does not mince words, pointing out rampant anti-Semitism among many Muslims.
Pipes and Geller both see Islamic radicalism as a threat, but the reason Pipes is tolerated and Geller is not may lie primarily in semantics and tone.
Regrettably, in matters of culture and religion, political correctness circumscribes the right to freedom of expression. Muslim practice and precept may be criticized, if it is couched in language that is neither offensive nor blunt.
The Jewish Board of Rabbis seemed to reprimand Geller for her language, stating she uses language intended to “shock and ridicule.” Yet her vehemence may simply reflect the strength of her feelings.
Pipes and Geller are equally aware of the threat of Islamic extremism. They touch upon the same issues. They stress the importance of mobilizing peaceful Muslims to defend our Western values, societies and communities.
The same message certainly needs to be heard in different ways, from fiery speakers no less than from conciliatory ones.