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How Daniel Pipes Destroyed a New York City Principal


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The New York Times has a cautionary tale of how mainstream hate masquerading as patriotism can destroy projects designed to promote peace and understanding.  The front-page article - Her Dream, Branded as a Threat - is a sad tale of an idealistic educator whose vision of a school for teaching NY City kids Arabic was ruined by a hate campaign organized by the well-known neoconservative "scholar" Daniel Pipes.

  • DowneastDem's diary :: ::
  • Debbie Almontaser dreamed of starting a public school like no other in New York City. Children of Arab descent would join students of other ethnicities, learning Arabic together. By graduation, they would be fluent in the language and groomed for the country’s elite colleges. They would be ready, in Ms. Almontaser’s words, to become "ambassadors of peace and hope."
  • But Ms. Almontaser was soon to learn that a very powerful group in New York, and in America as a nation,  has no interest in promoting peace and hope.  On the contrary, its mission is to foster fear and hate:

    In newspaper articles and Internet postings, on television and talk radio, Ms. Almontaser was branded a "radical," a "jihadist" and a "9/11 denier." She stood accused of harboring unpatriotic leanings and of secretly planning to proselytize her students. Despite Ms. Almontaser’s longstanding reputation as a Muslim moderate, her critics quickly succeeded in recasting her image.

    Who led the charge to smear Debbie Almontaser? None other than Harvard-educated Daniel Pipes - the well-known "expert" on Islamicism. Pipes began his efforts to kill the school with an op/ed in the neoconservative New York Sun:

    Conceptually, such a school could be "marvelous," Mr. Pipes wrote, but in practice, it was certain to be problematic. "Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with Pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage," he wrote, referring to the school as a madrassa, which means school in Arabic but, in the West, carries the implication of Islamic teaching.

    Given how little Mr. Pipes knew about the school at the time, the word was "a bit of a stretch," he said in a recent interview. He defended its use as a way to "get attention" for the cause. It got the attention of Ms. Alter, 60, who contacted Mr. Pipes and, with his encouragement, helped form a grass-roots organization in response to the school project. Mr. Pipes joined the advisory board of the group, which called itself the Stop the Madrassa Coalition.

    Pipes was joined in the Stop the Madrassa Coalition by another well-known expert on "Islamofascism":

    Mr. Pipes was joined in the monitoring effort by other self-declared watchdogs of militant Islam. Their Web sites are often linked to one another and their messages interwoven. One critic, David Horowitz, founded Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a campaign aimed at college campuses. He noted in an interview that monitors of radical Islam have increasingly trained their sights on nonviolent Muslim-Americans.

    Daniel Pipes' campaign of hate succeeded, and Ms. Almontaser resigned.  But Pipes will not be satisfied until he has ruined the reputation of all Muslims in America:

    "It’s a battle that’s really just begun," said Daniel Pipes.

    Don't forget, in 2004 Pipes defended the WWII internment of 150,000 Japanese-Americans, calling the program absolutely "correct and right". His chilling implication was that such a program would probably be necessary for Muslim-Americans as well.  And most of the hateful rumors about Barack Obama's "Muslim upbringing" can be traced back to Daniel Pipes,who on his Web site insists that Obama "practiced Islam".

    Tags: Daniel Pipes, Islamophobia, Islamofascism, Barack Obama, Rescued (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions