Bronze-level article

Daniel Pipes

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pipes in 2007. Another high-quality photo from Wikipedia. Note Satanic glow in eyes.
Parroting squawkbox
Icon pundit.svg
And a dirty dozen more
Inventing "The Other"
200px-Icon islamophobia.png
Fear And Loathing
The real regressives

Daniel Pipes is a right-wing academic/crank — and, amazingly, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations[1] — who is popular among conservatives for his virulently anti-Islamic views. Basically, if it involves Muslims, you can be sure that Pipes has written a column claiming that it indicates that Muslims are evil.


Pipes is the son of the historian Richard PipesWikipedia and opted to follow in his father's footsteps,[2] with questionable results. He holds a Ph.D. in medieval Islamic history; however, his current obsession "specialty" is Islam in modern society. He was a professor for about eight years, but he has not been involved in academia in any significant way since 1986.

In 2003, George W. Bush nominated Pipes to a position in the United States Institute for Peace, an action which proved slightly controversial.[3][4] The Institute's stated goals are as follows:[5]

  • Prevent and resolve violent international conflicts
  • Promote post-conflict stability and development
  • Increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide

Presumably the nomination was made on Backwards Day.

So what does Pipes think of Muslims?[edit]

Glad you asked.

Saying that Pipes thinks Muslims are bad is putting it mildly. He's built his career on demonstrating that everything ever done by Muslims (as individuals or as a group) is proof that they are not to be trusted. In the process, he has argued for some interesting political notions. To wit:

Pipes doesn't like Muslims[edit]

  • Muslims are all anti-Semites. All of them.

Anti-Semitism, historically a Christian phenomenon, is now primarily a Muslim phenomenon -- and not just in the Middle East, but right here in the United States...This has several implications for Jews. First, as the population of Muslims in the United States grows, so does antisemitism[6]

  • Muslims are smelly and weird.

West European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene.[7]

  • Oh, wait! I didn't mean that!

In retrospect, I should either have put the words "brown-skinned peoples" and "strange foods" in quotation marks or made it clearer that I was explaining European attitudes rather than my own.

  • However, "the Arabs" (a very large bucket that, apparently, includes Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians) are an evil race and they deserve whatever we do to them.

Smith's simple and near-universal principle provides a tool to comprehend the Arabs' cult of death, honor killings, terrorist attacks, despotism, warfare, and much else. He acknowledges that the strong-horse principleWikipedia may strike Westerners as ineffably crude, but he correctly insists on its being a cold reality that outsiders must recognize, take into account, and respond to.[8]

  • I found six Muslims who have won beauty pageants over the last five years. Affirmative action!

They are all attractive, but this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action.[9]

Pipes doesn't trust Muslims[edit]

Muslims appear growingly aware that the terroristic ways of Osama bin Laden offer a less successful path to realizing the Islamist goals of imposing the Shari’a and creating a caliphate do than the political, lawful ways of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s newly-triumphantly reelected prime minister. Whereas terrorism stimulates its own antibodies and offers no plausible path to power, working through the system is proving successful in such diverse places as Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Iraq, and Bangladesh, as well as in the West. Therefore, this survey has more subtle and ambiguous implications than first appear.[10]

  • A moderate Muslim starts a school in New York to teach Arabic. Obviously, she's out to get us.

It is hard to see how violence, how terrorism will lead to the implementation of sharia...It is much easier to see how, working through the system — the school system, the media, the religious organizations, the government, businesses and the like — you can promote radical Islam.[11]

  • According to these numbers I just made up, 10-15% of Muslims are dangerous radicals.

The recent distribution of some 28 million copies in the United States of the 2005 documentary Obsession has stirred heated debate about its contents. One lightning rod for criticism concerns my on-screen statement that "10 to 15 percent of Muslims worldwide support militant Islam."[12]

To borrow a computer term, if Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, and Nidal Hasan represent Islamism 1.0, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (the prime minister of Turkey), Tariq Ramadan (a Swiss intellectual), and Keith Ellison (a U.S. congressman) represent Islamism 2.0. The former kill more people but the latter pose a greater threat to Western civilization.[13]

Pipes really wants to bomb Iran[edit]

  • The fact that Iran isn't a threat means that we need to bomb them.

In a declassified National Intelligence Estimate, Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, the U.S. intelligence agencies announced last December, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." This highly controversial conclusion encouraged the Iranian leadership to dismiss the possibility of an American attack, permitting Tehran to stake out an increasingly bellicose position and rendering further negotiations predictably futile. Ideally, the Iranians themselves can still be induced to close down their nuclear program, for the alternatives – either a U.S. or Israeli attack, or allowing the apocalyptically-minded leadership in Tehran to get the Bomb – are far worse.[14]

Therefore, while my heart goes out to the many Iranians who desperately want the vile Ahmadinejad out of power, my head tells me it's best that he remain in office. When Mohammed Khatami was president, his sweet words lulled many people into complacency, even as the nuclear weapons program developed on his watch. If the patterns remain unchanged, better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.[15]

  • You know, President Obama, if you bomb Iran it will do wonders for your approval ratings.

He needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a lightweight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations. Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapon capacity.[16]

Pipes is disturbed in general[edit]

  • Diplomacy is a fallacy. War can not be concluded through negotiations, only by one side giving up.

In retrospect, it becomes apparent that multiple fallacies and wishful predictions fueled Arab-Israeli diplomacy:

  • War can be concluded through negotiations rather than by one side giving up.[17]
  • Obama is a secret Muslim!!!!!

In sum: Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim who rarely or occasionally prayed with his step-father in a mosque. This precisely substantiates my statement that he “for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father."[18]

Sudden Jihad Syndrome[edit]

In 2006, Pipes injected an extra strength dose of poison into the body politic when he coined the phrase "Sudden Jihad Syndrome". In his quest to identify all Muslims as evil, he decided that various acts of violence by American Muslims with no history of radicalism were actually caused by those individuals spontaneously becoming radical. In his words:

It has the awful but legitimate consequence of casting suspicion on all Muslims. Who knows whence the next jihadi? How can one be confident a law-abiding Muslim will not suddenly erupt in a homicidal rage? Yes, of course, their numbers are very small, but they are disproportionately much higher than among non-Muslims.[19]

Some may say that this bit of bigoted pop psychology is unbecoming an academic, even a former one. This should be mitigated by the fact that Pipes was likely suffering from Sudden Moron Syndrome at the time.

Campus Watch[edit]

Pipes has his own think tank, the Middle East Forum. Not mere thinkers they, starting from 2002, began investigating colleges via their Campus Watch program. Per the website, the goals are as follows:

The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.[20]

Clearly, Daniel Pipes is just the person to accomplish these goals.

Oh, the irony![edit]

Before he became a peddler of conspiracy theories about the coming global caliphate, Pipes was actually most known for his 1997 book Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From,[21] a book which sought to debunk conspiracy myths surrounding world organizations and, most specifically, those involving the Bilderberg Group and Council on Foreign Relations. He now uses his book as a how-to manual.

Stopped clock[edit]

In 2006, he helped spread the rumors of no-go zones in Europe.[22] To his credit, after actually visiting many of those areas he recanted his arguments saying that the areas were a little run down but ultimately fairly peaceful.[23]

Support for Tommy Robinson[edit]

Taking his wingnuttery to its logical conclusion, the Middle East Forum took up the cause of the racist hooligan Tommy Robinson (real name: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) with vigour, going to far as to put out a press release touting its supposed role in his release and seeking to help him gain asylum (!) in the United States—amusing for an institution which normally mocks and derides 'asylum seekers' from other parts of the world. When pressed on Tommy Robinson, Pipes later admitted regret at having supported him and disclaimed all support.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. CFR's Membership Roster
  2. Pipes senior had pretty much the same attitude to the Reds as junior has to Muslims. Senior headed the (in)famous "Team B"Wikipedia which included some other wonderful people and the team insisted that the Russkies had all kinds of super-duper technology. When the end of the Cold War allowed others to actually check the validity of these claims, the purported technology was proved to be as real as Saddam Hussein's nuclear material from Niger.
  3. "Militant About 'Islamism'", Janet Tassel, Harvard Magazine, January–February 2005.
  4. Pipes the Propagandist: Bush's nominee doesn't belong at the U.S. Institute for Peace." Christopher Hitchens, Slate, August 11, 2003—yes, the ardently pro-War on Terror model of Hitch wrote this.
  5. United States Institute for Peace
  6. The New Anti-Semitism
  7. The Muslims are Coming! The Muslims are Coming!
  8. In Mideast, Bet on a Strong Horse
  9. Affirmative Action in Beauty Contests?
  10. Suicide Reversal? Polling the Muslim world
  11. Critics Cost Muslim Educator Her Dream School, The New York Times
  12. Counting Islamists - For the record, Pipes came to this conclusion by taking various other polls and smashing them together until he had a number he could live with. A criticism of this skillful analysis can be found here.
  13. Islamism 2.0 - Incidentally, Pipes is positively shocked that Ellison won't talk to him.
  14. Prepare to Attack Iran
  15. Rooting for Ahmadinejad
  16. How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran
  17. Rethinking the Egypt-Israel "Peace" Treaty
  18. Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam
  19. The Quiet-Spoken Muslims Who Turn to Terror
  20. About Campus Watch
  21. Conspiracy
  22. "The 751 No-Go Zones of France".
  23. "Does Europe Have No-go Zones?"
  24. "Tommy Robinson Asked Wealthy US Backers to Help Claim Asylum"