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Pipes Nomination Will Cause "Immeasurable Damage"

Pipes Nomination Will Cause "Immeasurable Damage", say Muslims

By Firas Al-Atraqchi

''The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has vowed to fight tooth and nail Daniel Pipes' nomination to the United States Institute of Peace,'' says CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

CAIR recently launched a letter-writing campaign to protest U.S. President Bush's reported efforts to sidestep a Senatorial vote on his nominee, Pipes.

Hooper says that "tens of thousands of protest emails, faxes and phone calls have been sent out to members of the Senate and the White House".

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Board of Directors is usually appointed by the U.S. President and followed by a confirmation vote in the Senate. Pipes' nomination was stalled this year because of Democrat's allegations that Pipes is an outspoken bigot and considered by many to be racist and an Islamophobe.

The Senate Committee overseeing the nomination of Pipes refused to vote on the matter in late July. Leading Democrat Ted Kennedy told reporters at the time that Pipes' "record and experience do not reflect a commitment to bridging differences and preventing conflict". Republican Senator John Ensign managed to give only nominal support to Pipes.

Founded in 1984 as a non-partisan institution by Congress, the USIP seeks to "promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts through an array of programs", according to their website.

Muslim groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have long lobbied the Bush administration to rescind the Pipes nomination citing his heated vitriol against Muslim groups, and supporters of Palestinian independence.

"If [Bush] really does go ahead with appointing Pipes," says Hooper, "then he will have caused immeasurable damage to America's image worldwide and among Muslims."

Pipes has published many articles that focus on American Muslim lifestyles in such prominent newspapers as the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, The New Republic Online, Commentary, and The National Interest.

Academics in the U.S. have also protested Pipes' nomination because of Campus Watch, a controversial website that monitors alternative views taught by academics in U.S. universities.

The President's appointment by recess effectively means that the Pipes nomination will not be put to a vote in the Senate and his appointment is all but assured.

In his latest article, The Terrorist Next Door (New York Post, Aug.12) Pipes supports racial profiling of Arab and Muslim Americans.

Two weeks earlier, writing in the New York Post, Pipes says "Whether it be the imam at the local mosque, the principal of the Islamic school, the Muslim chaplain in a prison or the armed forces, the editor of an Islamic publishing house or the spokesman for a national group, the American Muslim scene presents an almost uniform picture of apologetics for terrorism, conspiracy theories about Jews and demands for Muslim privilege."

Last week, Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens joined ranks with the increasing number of Pipes critics saying his appointment to the USIP was a terrible choice. In an article titled Pipes the Propagandist, Hitchens says "On more than one occasion, Pipes has called for the extension of Israel's already ruthless policy of collective punishment, arguing that leveling Palestinian villages is justifiable if attacks are launched from among their inhabitants. It seems to me from observing his style that he came to this conclusion with rather more relish than regret."

Critics of Pipes say he uses a "broad brush" to paint all Muslim Americans as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and supporters. His vehement support of Israeli policies, decried by human rights organizations, has clearly created a bias in his arguments, they claim.

He believes that Islamic movements are tyrannical and totalitarian by nature and should be combated in the same way that the Allies fought the Axis (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan) in World War II. Pipes says that Islam is "one of the three great totalitarian movements of the 20th century."

"Just as we fought Nazism and communism, we're now engaged in a similar battle with Militant Islam," he told a packed audience at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in November 2002.

Little surprise that many Muslims feel betrayed by President Bush. Since September 11, 2001, President Bush has assured Muslims in America that he seeks closer ties with them and that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam. In the wake of the tragic September 11th terrorist attacks, Bush swore to wage a 'crusade' in Afghanistan. The military operation in that devastated country was called 'Operation Infinite Justice'. The White House public relations team scrambled to assure Muslims worldwide that Bush misspoke and the name of military operations was scrapped.

When asked if President Bush may have an agenda against Muslims, Hooper would only say that Bush's endorsement of Pipes would strengthen the belief among Muslims around the world that there is indeed a war on Islam.

"Pipes' appointment calls into question all of President Bush's previous statements claiming that the war on terrorism is not an attack on Islam and shows distain(sic) for the democratic process," he said.


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