The Truth About Daniel Pipes

April 8, 2003

Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes' speech before the convention of the American Jewish Congress on 10/21/2001). "The increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."

"The Palestinians are a miserable people...and they deserve to be." Daniel Pipes, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2001

"Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene...All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." (National Review, 11/19/90)

"Iranians and Pakistanis, to take two groups of non-Arabs, are at least as widely conspiracy-minded and as anti-Semitic as, say, Tunisians and Kuwaitis." (Commentary, 9/1/99)

" converts tend to hold vehemently anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attitudes." (Commentary, 6/1/2000)

It's Daniel Pipes' day in the sun. He's a media darling, a so-called "expert" on Islam, Muslims, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. But don't be fooled too easily.

Daniel Pipes says that most (he's used figures like 80%, 85%) American Muslim institutions are infiltrated by "Islamists", a scary term that Pipes never defines. He's going to tell you that the American Muslim leadership is "Islamist", and he will cite quotes that consist more of ellipses than words.

But Daniel Pipes is NOT an objective source on the issue of Islam, Muslims, American Muslims, or Israel/Palestine, and has demonstrated this time and time again.

And most importantly, someone with so strong and well established a bias over many years can not be trusted to make clear, accurate decisions about what is best for our national security.

Throughout his career, Daniel Pipes has exhibited a troubling bigotry toward Muslims and Islam. As early as 1983, even an otherwise positive Washington Post book review noted that Pipes displays "a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims...he professes respect for Muslims but is frequently contemptuous of them." Pipes, said the reviewer, "is swayed by the writings of anti-Muslim writers...[the book] is marred by exaggerations, inconsistencies, and evidence of hostility to the subject." (The Washington Post, 12/11/83)

In The Weekly Standard (1/22/96), Pipes offered a glowing review of the infamous anti-Muslim book "Why I Am Not a Muslim." The National Catholic Reporter (11/17/95) called that book "the literary equivalent of hate radio...literary warfare against Islam," useful only to those "interested in returning to the polemical past to do battle with Islamic believers." Pipes called the book "quite brilliant" and "startlingly novel." "This religion would seem to have nothing functional to offer," remarked Pipes.


During a speech at the State Department last year, an audience member asked Pipes what his methodology was in deriving the figure "80-85%" to describe the proportion of American Muslim institutions that are "Islamist". Pipes responded, "anecdotal evidence".

January 30, 2002, Secretary's Open Forum, US Dept. of State

The credibility of Pipes's account is weakened by his uncritical reliance on anecdotal and often partisan claims (chiefly by Israeli and Turkish sources), while dismissing the more measured State Department conclusion that there is no evidence of direct Syrian involvement in terrorist activities since 1986 (p. 98).

Raymond A. Hinnebusch, professor of Arab and Islamic studies at the University of St. Andrew's, Scotland


"Reading Daniel Pipes's latest book, brimming with dire warnings of Islamic threats, made me deeply envious. I so wish I could be a polemicist, then I'd never have to worry about accuracy and balance, about passing off egregious nonsense as alarming statement of fact, about repetition and self-contradiction. I, too, could trumpet mediocre fictions as insightful prophecies...

Pipes's solution to the problem of militant Islam amounts to supporting its enemies, whoever they are and no matter what they do, just as it earlier made sense to stick by Saigon or Augusto Pinochet in Chile. It was, of course, the US's later determination to stick by those fighting the Russian communists in Afghanistan that led the CIA into bed with Osama bin Laden. How little we learn..."

Peter Rodgers, Weekend Australian, 11/16/02
Peter Rodgers is a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

A polemic has license for exaggeration, but Militant Islam makes indefensible claims. Citing Iran's eight-year war against Iraq, Pipes suggests that Islamic states are inherently war-like, ignoring the fact that the war was started by secular Iraq. Afghanistan's civil wars are blamed on militant Islam, a gross simplification ignoring the venality and murderousness of the warlords who opened the way for the Taliban...

A chapter devoted to the unmasking of Islamic sleeper cells could be mistaken for self-parody. Clues to search for include, "Sending or receiving large amounts of money; criminal activity, especially reliance on counterfeited money and smuggling; a promising career that failed, descent into drugs and alcohol, then redemption through Islam; an offer to work for the enemy's intelligence service..."

Robert Ruby, Baltimore Sun, 9/29/02

Based in Philadelphia and headed by anti-Arab propagandist Daniel Pipes, Campus Watch unleashed an Internet firestorm in late September, when it posted "dossiers" on eight scholars who have had the audacity to criticize US foreign policy and the Israeli occupation. As a gesture of solidarity, more than 100 academics subsequently contacted the Middle East Forum asking to be added to the list...

Pipes is notorious in the academy for calling Muslims "barbarians" and "potential killers" in a 2001 National Review article and accusing them of scheming to "replace the [US] Constitution with the Koran," in a similar piece in Insight on the News. Along these lines, a 1990 National Review article insisted that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene....All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most."

In addition to running the Middle East Forum, serving on a Defense Department antiterrorism task force and writing columns for the Jerusalem and New York Post, Pipes is also a regular contributor to the website of Gamla, an organization founded by former Israeli military officers and settlers that endorses the ethnic cleansing of every Palestinian as "the only possible solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict...

Kristine McNeil, The Nation, 11/11/02

Last month, the blitzkrieg (and that word was chosen precisely for its Nazi allusion) against academia roared into high gear. Daniel Pipes, one of America's most notorious Arab-haters and Islamophobes (qualities held in high esteem in Washington these days), launched a website,, that solicits students to spy on their teachers...

Pipes is best known for his strident and often racist denunciations of Arabs and Islam. In an effort to divide Americans -- one that if you inserted "blacks" for "Muslims" and "whites" for "Jews," would be vigorously damned as KKK-speech -- he told the American Jewish Congress a year ago that he worries "the presence and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."

I contacted Pipes, and he not only confirmed his quote but, incredibly, added: "It is accurate in itself but you must note that this was spoken to a Jewish audience. I make the same point respectively to audiences of women, gays, civil libertarians, Hindus, Evangelical Christians, atheists, and scholars of Islam, among others, all of whom face 'true dangers' as the number of Muslims increases..."

John Sugg, Creative Loafing, 10/2/02

Those familiar with (Daniel Pipes and Alan Dershowitzs') track records understand that, in writing these books, Pipes and Dershowitz are promoting a point of view that is pro-Israel and anti-Arab/Muslim. As an "associate" of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which is connected to like-minded organizations such as the Middle East Forum, the Middle East Research Institute and superhawk Richard Perle's American Enterprise Institute, Pipes has made a career of Arab- and Muslim-bashing...

Gary D. Keenan, Vancouver Sun, 9/14/02

Last Friday, while all the talking heads who had filled the airwaves with their expert opinions during the D.C.-area sniper crisis were wiping egg from their faces, Pipes was declaring in his column that the outcome was really quite unsurprising and elementary. "It came as no surprise," he wrote, "to learn that the lead suspect as the Washington, D.C.-area sniper is John Allen Muhammad, an African-American who converted to Islam about 17 years ago. Nor did it surprise that seven years ago he provided security for Louis Farrakhan's 'Million Man March.' Even less does it amaze that he reportedly sympathized with the Sept. 11 attacks carried out by militant Islamic elements."

And why was what so many others found remarkable "no surprise" to Pipes?

Because, he said, "it fits into a well-established tradition of American blacks who convert to Islam turning against their country."

Huh? "Well-established tradition"? "Turning against their country..."?

In speaking of an alienation that "goes back decades," Pipes is being either disingenuous or willfully ignorant. Only in very recent decades has America ceased to impose alienation on its black citizens. The wonder is not that an Elijah Muhammad defied the draft during World War II; the wonder is that many more African-Americans did not.

Finally, to suggest that John Allen Muhammad undertook his alleged homicidal odyssey out of some ideological motivation is not only to pop off without so much as a shred of evidence, it is to go against the evidence that does exist and that suggests this was a man with a terribly diseased mind.

Daniel Pipes has done well over the last few years, hammering away at the dangers of militant Islam. But his column on the sniper suspect just demonstrates the wisdom of an old expression: When the only tool you've got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune, 10/31/02

As Danish politicians, we are offended by the way integration problems in Denmark were portrayed by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard and we wish to set the record straight (Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough, Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, Aug. 27).

The authors claim that 40% of Danish welfare expenses are consumed by Muslim immigrants...Muslim immigrants do not receive 40% of those allocations even though they represent a substantial part of the clients. The main reason being: It is hard to compete on a job market not interested in employing immigrants.

The further assumption that more than half of all rapists in Denmark are Muslims is without any basis in fact, as criminal registers do not record religion.

NOTE: In the article referenced above, Daniel Pipes smears the Muslim community in Denmark with several accusations eerily similar to those leveled against the Jewish community in Europe by anti-Semitic propagandists prior to World War II.

These include: 1) being parasites on the society, 2) being disproportionately engaged in criminal behavior, 3) having "unacceptable" customs, 4) seeking to take over the country, and 5) sexual aggression against women in the dominant culture.

Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, National Post, 9/6/02

It was with sadness, then, that I picked up a copy of Commentary last month to find that professor Daniel Pipes had written an article entitled: "The Danger Within: Militant Islam in America."

After mocking editorial writers, politicians, and the president of the United States for having "tripped over themselves" to describe American Muslims as just ordinary people who "love their country," Pipes warned that the "Muslim population in this country is not like any other group, for it includes within it a substantial body of people...who share with the suicide hijackers a hatred of the United States..."

Thus having set the stage for the entire Muslim population in this country to be considered "not like any other group," Pipes goes on to cherry-pick statements from Muslims, not all of them Americans, that would indicate their evil intentions...

This kind of rhetoric is the real face of the danger within.

H.D.S. GREENWAY, The Boston Globe, 12/24/2001

Daniel Pipes Says "Raze" Palestinian Villages

Israel needs to take more active steps...Bury suicide bombers in potter's fields rather than deliver their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations)...Permit no transportation of people or goods beyond basic necessities. Shut off utilities to the PA...Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched. The National Post, 7/18/01



"Mr. Pipes has asked my students to spy on me and report to him. He is a bit late. My students have been 'spying' on me in the sweetest and most precious way ever since my teaching career began. If you go to Columbia website there is a page called CULPA that Columbia students have put together years before failed academics like Daniel Pipes sought to take revenge on institutions of higher learning that deny them access.

"...obviously Mr. Pipes has managed to generate lots of publicity for himself and his associates, all otherwise failed academics who have no scholarly credentials to recommend them. This whole exercise is a massive propaganda stunt to create credibility for discredited think-tankers by attacking established scholars.

"...The accusations of this website are so ludicrous, and the very language and diction of people like Daniel Pipes and his other associates (such as a man named Billy or Martin or Jeffery Kramer, I am not sure) are so vulgar and pitiful that they will have no enduring effect on anything.

They can no longer turn their sickly mind into a battlefield between Jews and Muslims. We are Jews, we are Muslims, we are Christians, we are Hindus, and then we are agnostics, atheists, secular humanists. They cannot corner us in any angle. We fight back from another. If they brand us as Muslim fanatics we fight as Jewish intellectuals, as Christian liberation theologians, as human rights activists. Hannan Hever, Ella Shohat, Ammiel Alcalay, Gil Anidjar and tens and thousands of other Jews and Gentiles, Arabs and Israelis, Americans and Europeans, rabbis and priests, are all on our side. And on Daniel Pipes side are Fouad Ajami, Dinesh D'Souza, and Francis Fukuyama. This is not a battle between Muslims and Jews. This is a battle between those who dare to speak truth to power and those who serve it lucratively."

Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

I am of course digusted by these policing operations by failed academics of the caliber of Kramer and Pipes who opted for a propaganda role on behalf of the racist colonial settlement that they support. However, their marginalization in academia continues despite their valiant efforts to obtain respectability.

It is interesting to note that the Kramer and Pipes have not done their homework well. In my "dossier," they only list articles of mine and reviews that are critical of the Palestinian national movement and of an anti-Zionist Israeli writer and other writings unrelated to Israel. It is testament to their stupidity that they have failed to list my many critical articles of Israel and its policies. Then again, such poor research abilities on their part may explain why neither of them is employed at a respectable academic institution and work in the field of propaganda

Professor Joseph Massad, Colubia University

I don't feel comfortable categorizing Pipes as the "pro-Israeli lobby". He is just a rather extreme Likudnik who has made statements about immigrants lacking 'German standards of hygiene,' and we all know where to place such statements on an ideological and historical spectrum.

Anyway, the best way to conduct human affairs is the maximization of information, and so I hope Pipes and his cohort will also have their arguments publicly scrutinized, as well.

Professor Juan Cole, University of Michigan

This noxious campaign is intended to silence such perfectly legitimate criticism, by tarring it with the brush of anti-Semitism and anti- Americanism, truly loathsome charges. They reveal the lengths that these people apparently feel impelled to go to in order to silence a true debate on campus.

Professor Rashid Khalidi, University of Chicago


"Look, I have a filter. I've studied Islam and Islamism for 30 years. I have a sense of how they proceed and what their agenda is like. And I see it. You don't...I can't prove that to you. I can tell you that there are all sorts of intimations of it. I can tell you I can sense it."

-- Daniel Pipes on discussing his "special Muslim filter", a paranormal gift that allows Pipes not to use evidence.

You've probably heard Daniel Pipes denounce the American Muslim and Arab American leadership, calling them "Islamist" or "Wahabi", radical supporters of a Saudi-Arabia like religious state, people that want to change America. But let's take a look at some of Pipes' more prominent targets to see if they really fit this description.

What we find is that Pipes is interested in attacking all Muslims, all the time, especially the most prominent in the political area. It does not matter how secular or religious the individual may be...if they are Muslim and concerned about politics (especially the Arab - Israeli conflict) ... Pipes will target you.

Take the case of Hussein Ibish, the talented Communications Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 2000, Daniel Pipes called Ibish an "Islamist", and has called the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an expressly secular organization, a "front for Hamas." Writing for the New York Post on March 25, 2002, Pipes describes the reactions of the so-called "Islamists", (translation: all Muslims working in politics), to Sen. Joe Lieberman's run for vice-president:

"Joseph Lieberman's appointment as the Democratic candidate for vice-president prompted a range of reactions among the Islamists - also known as fundamentalist Moslems - who run the leading Moslem institutions in the US. (Moderate Moslems are rarely heard from.)...

"Those who reacted badly to Lieberman have two main concerns. They worry, first, about his further tilting the US government toward Israel. Hussein Ibish, director of communications for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, comments that Lieberman shows a devotion to Israel "unparalleled in any potential president.

In Mr. Ibish's words:

Incredibly, less than two years later, Mr. Ibish seems to have gone from an "Islamist" to a "radical leftist"! Take a look at this incredible quote published in the same New York Post on March 25, 2002:

"Unlike most of today's prominent Muslim spokesmen, the 38-year-old Ibish does not advocate militant Islam. Instead, he pushes a set of far left-wing views."

Again, in Ibish's words:

"In August 2000 he (Pipes) labeled me a "fundamentalist Muslim," whose goal is "the Islamization of America." This nonsense fell completely flat, and has occasionally come back to haunt him, since I was then and remain an ardent secularist. It has now given way to equally absurd claims that I promote 'a set of far left-wing views.' So, in Pipes' mind, I've suddenly gone, in the space of less than two years, from being a far right-wing fundamentalist to an extreme leftist."

Clearly, Pipes' concern is not ideology, and it is certainly not national security: it is attacking prominent, articulate Arab-Americans and Muslims any way he possibly can, including through outright lies and slander.

In another case, Daniel Pipes attacks Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, as being yet another "Islamist."

And yet during an infamous incident on ABC's "Politically Incorrect", Pipes' attempt to "prove" that Dr. Hathout was an "Islamist" was ridiculed throughout the nation for weeks to come.

A writer for The Criterion in Toledo, OH, described the scene this way:

'On "Politically Incorrect" with Bill Maher, Pipes also made outlandish claims. He even went on an attack rampage attacking another guest, Dr. Maher Hathout of Muslim Political Affairs Council. He claimed that Dr. Hathout had supported terrorism. He offered to provide evidence and whipped out a quote from Dr. Hathout saying that the attacks on the Sudanese Aspirin factory were "immoral and illegal."

"To this, Bill Maher and Alec Baldwin responded by chastising Pipes for his meager attempt to distort the truth and cast Dr. Hathout in a negative light."

"Pipes even had the audacity to say that President Bush should not be meeting with "characters like him" and pointed to Dr. Hathout. Host Bill Maher and the other guests quickly argued that Pipes is the one that needs to be controlled and kept out of the public stage. Even they noticed his outright hatred and anti-Muslim sentiments. You could faintly hear an audience member shout out 'Pipe down Pipes!'"

"Pipes arguments were laughable at best. Actor Alec Baldwin at one point said to Pipes, 'You seem to be in support of every crypto fascist idea.'"

A third example is that of Sarah Eltantawi, Communications Director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In an article for the National Review on September 11, 2002, Pipes calls Ms. Eltantawi an "Islamist motormouth".

Yet this is the same Eltantawi that was quoted on December 1, 2002 in The Los Angeles Times saying:

"Saudi Arabia is a corrupt, dictatorial, fascist state that is an embarrassment to Islam and Muslims," wrote Sarah Eltantawi, communications director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council. Accepting foreign donations from such regimes "could set us back decades, or keep us in the 'straddling the fence' posture vis-a-vis Muslim dictators and oppressors that we seem to be shamefully stuck in today," she wrote.

Writing about a different incident Pipes tried to label Ms. Eltantawi an "Islamist" Dr. Nayyer Ali, an MPAC board member, wrote in an October 4, 2002 article:

"In fact, a rather amusing episode occurred when Daniel Pipes found himself being thoroughly trounced by MPAC"s Communications Director Sarah Eltantawi on television. As he had no factual argument to make, he then turned to the host and sputtered how no one should believe Sarah because she "works for an Islamist organization." Sarah, who does not wear Hijab, could only smile at the obvious stupidity of such a remark. There was a name for that sort of nonsense, it used to be called McCarthyism, and Pipes is one of its current leading practitioners.

The real agenda here is to block and destroy the entry of Muslim political groups into American civil society. The fundamentalist movement, as we all know, spawned the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and therefore anyone associated with it is discredited. So the easiest way to neutralize Muslim organizations is to tar them with this charge and practice guilt by association. Never mind if the groups are ideologically on the other side of the spectrum from the fundamentalists. The only Muslims who can avoid the charge of "Islamist" are those that do not criticize Israeli behavior and do not support the right of Palestinians to a state. This is the real issue for those who throw this false charge around."

Indeed, it seems to be among Pipes's primary goals to avoid actual factual discussion of issues with his debate partners at any cost, especially if they are articulate, politically minded Arab-Americans and American Muslims.

Let us give just two of several examples of Pipes trying to stifle debate on National Television or radio when he feels that things are not going his way. The first example is a radio interview on BBC Radio Five Live from September 29, 2002 with Mr. Ali Abunimah, a prominent Arab-American activist:

ADEBAYO: Ali Abunimah, there you heard it. The Intifada has been a complete disaster its about time you accepted the Jewish state.

ABUNIMAH: Well, Mr. Pipes always gets it wrong. When I was on Australian television with him about two weeks into the Intifada he dismissed it all as a little communal violence that would soon go away, and of course he's got it wrong now because two years in to the Intifada, Israel has failed...

PIPES: Excuse me, I thought the terms of this debate...


ABUNIMAH: Two years...It's my turn now...


PIPES:...that we were not going to have ad hominem

ABUNIMAH: Stop interrupting.

PIPES: I thought that we were going to have, the terms of this debate that no ad hominem

ABUNIMAH: Stop interrupting. Stop interrupting.

ADEBAYO: Hold on...

PIPES: ...I already am being attacked by Mr. Abunimah.

ABUNIMAH: Stop interrupting.

PIPES: I will not be on this program if he attacks...

ADEBAYO: Hold on Daniel Pipes...

PIPES: I made it clear I will not be attacked...


ADEBAYO: Hold on, there's nobody...

PIPES: I don't want to be attacked. Did we not make that the terms of my going on this program?

ADEBAYO: There's nobody attacking anybody at the moment.

PIPES: I am being told I was wrong then, I'm wrong now,

ADEBAYO: No, No, You'll get a chance to come back.

PIPES: I don't want to come back. I want to make it clear that I'm not going to be attacked by Mr. Abunimah.

ADEBAYO: But let's get a chance to discuss what we're here to discuss. Ali Abunimah, just for the sake of us please just try and restrain some of the language towards Mr. Pipes. Let's try and discuss the issues, cos we're talking about serious issues here.

ABUNIMAH: Those are things he said publicly. He doesn't want me to comment publicly...


PIPES: He is again talking about me. I am not the issue...


PIPES: ...We're discussing the Palestinians and Israelis.

ABUNIMAH: Well let's discuss...

ADEBAYO: Let's hear...

PIPES: I'm going to hang up if he talks one more word about me...



ADEBAYO: I'm sure it's going to...

ABUNIMAH: Mr. Pipes wants to stifle debate. He's welcome to hang up. I'm not asking him to. He cannot tolerate any disagreement...

An almost identical tactic can be seen with Sarah Eltantawi in a Fox News interview with Greta Van Susteren on June 24, 2002:

PIPES: Now wait a minute. You agreed that I'm not going to be attacked. I'm not going to be attacked.


PIPES: I'm not going to be attacked. I'm not going to be attacked. I'm not going to be attacked.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, with that, let me...

PIPES: This is not on agenda.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me toss up the white flag.

ELTANTAWI: Somebody is getting defensive because for some...

In conclusion, Daniel Pipes attacks Muslims from the right [he's a featured speaker on "Islam" at the Christian Coalition conference on February 15, the virulently anti-Islamic tone of which caused Dr. Rev. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance to say the panel "raise(s) serious questions about (the conference's) spirit and purpose"].

Pipes attacks from the Left by claiming that American Muslims are Islamists that have no respect for women's rights, and by extension traditionally left causes. (Although he compiles McCarthite files on academics on his website).

And Pipes attacks from the center by feeding into the notion that it is "us against them", the "West" versus "Islam", and that "Islamists" want to take over America and displace average folks here in America.

The only consistency here is Pipes' bald faced racism and shrewd agenda to silence American Muslims and American Arabs at any cost, because he is a bigot, and he belongs to an ultra right wing reactionary school of thought that believes that the destruction of Islam will somehow protect Israel.

Someone this biased is not concerned with our National Security: he is concerned with his own obsessions and his own agenda.

Daniel Pipes wants to alienate American Muslims and American Arabs - but these people are Americans too, and we need everyone's help in the fight against terrorism - especially the very people Pipes loves to attack.

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