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1 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Jul 28, 2011 2:50:41pm

You make a good point about the almost self-fulfilling demagoguery of some of the anti-Islamist activists. One of the difficulties in following this area, however, is that organizations like the SPLC are often guilty in pursuit of their political agenda of the very practice of over-generalizing of which they accuse their opponents. For example, in the piece to which you linked, the SPLC makes good points about certain anti-Islamist activists who treat all Muslims as though they agree with the Islamist interpretation of Islam, and thereby give support to the Islamist viewpoint. SPLC proceeds, however, to lump Daniel Pipes into the same category as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as among "eight central activists ... on almost every aspect of the recent surge in anti-Muslim fervor in America." I have been a regular reader of Dr. Pipes' scholarly work and his editorial writings for many years and, while I do not always agree with his prescriptions, he has nevertheless repeatedly and explicitly made a distinction between Islamism and Islam. He has written often that the solution for Islamism is within Islam itself and, specifically, that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution." (See, for example, the bibliography of Dr. Pipes' writings at : [Link: www.danielpipes.org...] Indeed, the SPLC has elsewhere acknowledged that Dr. Pipes' views of Muslims are more moderate than the others with which they lump him in the report to which you linked. ([Link: www.splcenter.org...] If they want to have greater credibility in this important debate, SPLC and others holding similar political viewpoints need to avoid painting with the same broad brush that they accuse their political opponents of using. Otherwise, conservatives will simply write off anything coming from SPLC on the subject as being motivated by the organization's politically liberal viewpoint rather than by a desire to honestly address the problematic link between opposition to radical Islamism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

2 wrenchwench  Thu, Jul 28, 2011 4:33:03pm

re: #1 sliv_the_eli

If they want to have greater credibility in this important debate, SPLC and others holding similar political viewpoints need to avoid painting with the same broad brush that they accuse their political opponents of using. Otherwise, conservatives will simply write off anything coming from SPLC on the subject as being motivated by the organization's politically liberal viewpoint rather than by a desire to honestly address the problematic link between opposition to radical Islamism and anti-Muslim bigotry.

I think conservatives already have a problem with the SPLC. Were the SPLC to refrain from broad-brushing Daniel Pipes, conservatives would still have a problem with the SPLC.

Besides, Pipes deserves the broad brush. His reaction to Breivik is no different from Spencer's or Geller's. He also promotes the "Eurabia" BS. Just because he believes in moderate Islam does not give him a pass for this crap:

Such optimism, unfortunately, has little foundation. Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, have more babies, and cherish their own heritage. They could encourage non-Muslim immigration or acculturate the Muslims already among them. But such changes are not now underway, nor are their prospects good. Instead, Muslims are cultivating grievances and ambitions at odds with their indigenous neighbors. Worryingly, each generation appears more alienated than its predecessor.

If a 'politically liberal viewpoint' is what it takes to not be a bigot, maybe conservatives should give it a try.

Note: I do not believe all conservatives are bigots. But I think people who claim that their opposition to the SPLC is due to its 'politically liberal viewpoint' might be (not saying that's you, sliv, you are speaking of them in the third person also.)

3 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Jul 28, 2011 9:50:54pm

re: #2 wrenchwench

WW, a couple of points.

On the liberal-conservative divide, it is true that the hard-core and closed-minded on both sides of the debate will not likely be convinced to rely upon the "mouthpieces" of the other side. Similarly, serious students of the subject will always be open to the viewpoints of all sides. The real "hearts-and-minds" battle on this issue, at least in the West, depends upon educating the much larger group that resides between the two political poles. Organizations such as the SPLC, which has a rich history rooted in the civil rights struggle, can either take the path of partisan hackery or hold themselves to a higher standard. If they follow the former path, they will only preach to the choir and serve no greater purpose. If they follow the latter path, they will ultimately serve as organs for education and, therefore, as a medium for enabling the important conversation that needs to take place.

With respect to Dr. Pipes, he is certainly of the school that sees a clash of civilizations taking place between a resurgent political Islam and a West that seems almost at war with itself and sclerotic by comparison. One may disagree with that viewpoint, but Dr. Pipes is not alone among legitimate scholars in believing that it is taking place. What separates the scholars from the demagogues, and what, IMHO, makes it inappropriate to lump them together, is precisely in whether they distinguish bewteen Islamism and Islam in general.

Finally, with respect to the piece by Dr. Pipes from which you quoted, the language you pulled needs to be read in the context of the entire piece. The excerpt notes Dr. Pipes' skepticism about the viewpoint propounded by some that Christian Europe and the Islamic world are successfully integrating. The language that you appear to find troubling is not his viewpoint; indeed, further in the article, he points out that this is one of two "deeply unattractive alternatives" that appear to be the likely outcomes of the West-Islam conversation taking place in Europe:

As the American columnist Dennis Prager sums them up, "It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for Western Europe than its becoming Islamicized or having a civil war." Indeed, these two deeply unattractive alternative paths appear to define Europe's choices, with powerful forces pulling in the contrary directions of Muslims taking over or Muslims rejected, Europe an extension of North Africa or in a state of quasi-civil war.
Which will it be? The decisive events that will resolve this question have yet to take place, so one cannot yet make the call. Decision-time is fast approaching, however. Within the next decade or so, today's flux will end, the Europe-Islam equation will harden, and the continent's future course should become apparent.
Correctly anticipating that course is the more difficult for being historically unprecedented. No large territory has ever shifted from one civilization to another by virtue of a collapsed population, faith, and identity; nor has a people risen on so grand a scale to reclaim its patrimony. The novelty and magnitude of Europe's predicament make it difficult to understand, tempting to overlook, and nearly impossible to predict. Europe marches us all into terra incognita.

His reaction to the terrorist attack in Oslo last week, while overly defensive in my view, is consistent with his earlier analysis of the possible responses of "Europe" to its growing Muslim population. I would note, as well, that even here Dr. Pipes is careful to distinguish between opposing ones political opponents and vilifying them. It is a lesson we would do well to internalize, on both sides of the political aisle.

4 Randall Gross  Fri, Jul 29, 2011 3:52:55am

I stopped believing Pipes when he became MEK's apologist. They aren't terrorists anymore because they are our terrorists?

5 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Fri, Jul 29, 2011 5:40:33am

re: #4 Thanos

Pipes jumped the shark with his "Muslim Obama" articles.


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