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Pipes refutes war on terror ideology, decries radical Muslims

Former U of C lecturer and controversial Middle East commentator Daniel Pipes pointed to radical Muslims rather than terrorists as America’s true enemies in a talk Wednesday, contrary to the war-on-terror rhetoric espoused by academics and governments.

Photo: Sherrie Xie/The Chicago Maroon
Third-year Saqib Hussain listens as Daniel Pipes delivers a lecture entitled "Confronting Radical Islam" at Kent 107 last Wednesday.

Photo: Sherrie Xie/The Chicago Maroon
Political commPolitical commentator Daniel Pipes delivers a lecture entitled “Confronting Radical Islam” Wednesday in Kent Hall.

Former U of C lecturer and controversial Middle East commentator Daniel Pipes pointed to radical Muslims rather than terrorists as America’s true enemies in a talk Wednesday, contrary to the war-on-terror rhetoric espoused by academics and governments.

In Kent Hall, Pipes compared these extremists—“Islamists”—to communists and fascists, since, in his opinion, all offer a “radical utopian vision” for society. This vision is being realized in Turkey, he said, where Islamists have applied their radical ideology to legitimate governance. “[It’s] an Islamic society and is being made more so increasingly every day,” Pipes said, responding to the claim that Turkey is a secular society.

This trend has spread to the West, Pipes said, pointing to government-sponsored halal dining areas in England.

One audience member claimed that Pipes set a double standard by not taking issue with public nativity scenes in America.

“No one but Muslims have aspirations to impose their religion on society,” Pipes said. He then cited what he claimed was an attempt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to apply Sharia law in the U.S. during the 1990s.

Pipes refuted the argument that poverty and American foreign policy in the Arab and Muslim world are the underlying causes of radicalism. “[They] aggravate the problem, but are not reasons for it,” he said. He attributed the growth of radicalism—a historical phenomenon he traced to the 1920s—to a widespread feeling in the Muslim world that it has lost political primacy to the West.

Pipes did offer suggestions to address the rise of these radicals. “Non-Muslims need to serve as auxiliaries to anti-Islamists [and] fight Islamists who teach in universities and serve within the government,” Pipes said. “[We need] to help Muslims understand their religion differently.”

  • Rod

    How is it that bigot like Daniel Pipes could be allowed to speak with almost no protest, but the second a speaker with anti-israel(not necessarily anti-semetic) views comes to campus they are greeted with nothing but protest and calls for the university to apologize for letting them speak. There is a double standard on american campuses, you can be as anti-christian, anti-white, anti-men, anti-muslim(pertaining to their culture), and anti-republican as you want, but there will be massive protest and calls for resignations if you are anti-israel, anti-affirmative action/quotas, etc. College is suppose to be all about the free flow of ideas. in order to hear the ideas you like and agree with you have to be willing to allow the ones you don’t like and disagree with.

  • Roddy Frankel

    Rod’s comment is disingenuous. He tries to blur the line between free speech and the suppression of free speech. He equates disruptive protests, whose goal is to prevent a speech, with thoughtful debate conducted within a civilized Q and A session during a lecture. He equates the “free flow of ideas” with mindless chants of “Down, Down, Israel” on the steps of the lecture hall. I contend that simple-minded expressions of hatred are not a valuable part of the debate. They are distractions and a waste of time. They also incite to violence. There is a double standard on campus, but it is the opposite of what Rod claims. There is disproportionate criticism of Israel, and a complete indifference to the hateful and intolerant policies of all of Israel’s Arab neighbors.