Sunday, October 01, 2006

Daniel Pipes and Freedom of Speech

Islamophobe extraordinaire Daniel Pipes wrote an article Zuhdi Jasser and "Monitoring Islamist Media" dated May 11 2006, and I shall contrast his statements there with the publication of the mythic, racist and Orientalist caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he defended. I'll first quote from his article Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism dated February 7 2006 where he harps about "freedom of speech", a basic human right that is at times eroded by hypocrisy and employed as a weapon by centres of power to take potshots at the powerless whether they be Muslim or not.
The key issue at stake in the battle over the twelve Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad is this: Will the West stand up for its customs and mores, including freedom of speech, or will Muslims impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately, there is no compromise: Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.
All this lecture over wrong or right civilization doesn't wash. It seems Pipes is not only invoking the racist theory of the clash of civilizations but calling for a separation of Western Muslims from the West. Also notice how he refers to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as "Muslim Prophet Muhammad". And this is the same man who once had the bigotry to deny the existence of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But what is surprising about all this is that Pipes is the founder of Campus Watch, a witch-hunting project that targets university professors and others, and "smears any critics of US policies as unpatriotic" and equates the criticism of Israeli brutalities against Palestinians as anti-Semitic or pro-terrorism. But hold your breath for now. Let's give him some more air play on this. After criticizing the more civic Western countries like New Zealand that refused to publish the caricatures, Pipes starts off talking about the Ayatollah and Rushdie -- Ayatollah being the scapegoat for much of this sort of discourse because he had the daring to overthrow the brutal US-backed Shah. And then this:
Even worse, in 1997 when an Israeli woman distributed a poster of Muhammad as a pig, the American government shamefully abandoned its protection of free speech. On behalf of President Bill Clinton, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called the woman in question "either sick or … evil" and stated that "She deserves to be put on trial for these outrageous attacks on Islam." The State Department endorses a criminal trial for protected speech?
Note how he says "Even worse..." as he's obviously comparing this to the Rushdie affair, but he considers it "worse" because there was an "Israeli woman" involved not to mention a "poster of Muhammad as a pig". Neither he nor Rushdie give a fig over the forty Muslims killed during that crisis leave alone one or two helpers of Rushdie. One can do nothing but agree with Nicholas Burns when he called the woman "either sick or ... evil" because that's what she ultimately was. I wonder what would happen to an Arab distributing pictures of Sharon as a pig -- Moses being another "Muslim Prophet" much to the discomfort of Pipes. The Arab would be shot point-blank by the IDF. It is not the Muslims in America who are unloyal to their country but Zionists like Pipes. I now quote what Pipes says about freedom of press in his second article as he talks about Muslim media in America comparing George Bush to Ghenghis Khan. Hmmm...I should have thought of that before. Not a bad comparison as both of them destroyed and pillaged Mesopotamia. After patting the "native informant" on the back, this is what Pipes writes about freedom of press when America or Israel are at the receiving end (my empasis in pink):
We certainly defend Breek Publishing's right to freedom of speech as we do all of its sponsors and distributors. But, perhaps its sponsors or distributors are not aware that an advertisement or shelf space for distribution is a clear tacit endorsement of the acceptability of the ideology. Certainly, advertisers and distributors need not agree with all of the ideas presented in a newspaper, but when the paper travels into the distant margins whether far to the left or far to the right from mainstream America it becomes a real liability for all of its sponsors.
Aren't the double standards too obvious?


thefinman said...

What do you consider the greater threat to civil society: Islamophobia or Islamic extremism?

Sindbad said...

I disagree with the term "Islamic extremism" because terrorist acts are not inspired by Islam. Islam is used to legitimize criminal actions by them but nothing more. It doesn't advocate terrorism. But I undesrstand what you're saying. I think terrorism or extremism by Muslims or non-Muslims should both be condemned. The maximum crimes in this world are committed by Christians but we don't blame Christianity. Islamophobia has had a historical life since the days of the Crusades. This world is big enough for both Christians and Muslims to live side by side. Islamophobia is of particular concern because of Europe's history, invasions of Muslim cuntries on the premise of the so-called clash of civilizations and the rich literature of Orientalism. This is not to say that Muslims are totally innocent. Muslims also need to build bridges, preach tolerance -- there has to be efforts by both sides.

douberville said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

I've only just stumbled upon your blog. A nice space you have here- keep up the good work!

Perhaps someone, somewhere will be influenced to stop their unruly hate against Muslims- as a direct result of this blog.

Sindbad said...

Wa'alaikum salaam,

Thank you for your kind words.