Today, Daniel Pipes. the controversial columnist who has had to defend himself more than once against charges that he was an Islamophobe, put to rest any doubts about his feelings towards Muslims in his National Review column, ‘’Why I Stand with Geert Wilders.’’
Pipes goes out of his way to lavish praise on Wilders, calling him “the most important European alive today.” (No word from the Vatican on if the Pope has any response to his relegation to the number two position by Pipes.)
For years, Pipes has denied accusations that his columns have espoused Islamophobic rhetoric, but his recent column in the National Review goes out of its way not just to endorse Geert Wilders, but also to explicitly praise anti-Muslim statements made by Wilders.
In addition, Wilders is a charismatic, savvy, principled, and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic political force in the Netherlands. While he opines on the full range of topics, Islam and Muslims constitute his signature issue. Overcoming the tendency of Dutch politicians to play it safe, he calls Muhammad a devil and demands that Muslims ‘’tear out of half of the Koran if they wish to stay in the Netherlands.’’ More broadly, he sees Islam itself as the problem, not just a virulent version of it called Islamism. [Emphasis added.]
Wilders has gained notoriety for his explicitly anti-Muslim statements in the Netherlands. He has called for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands, claimed that ‘’radical Islam doesn’t exist’’ and compared the Koran to Mein Kampf.
He has been charged with “incitement to hatred and discrimination” in the Netherlands and was banned from entering the United Kingdom last year when the Home Office decided that his presence was a “threat to one of the fundamental interests of society”. The ban was subsequently overturned.
During his frequent trips to the U.S., Wilders has enjoyed the hospitality of Frank Gaffney‘s Center for Security Policy, David Horowitz‘s Freedom Center, Pipes’ Middle East Forum, and the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Pipes’ assertion that Wilder’s politics are ‘’without roots in neo-Fascism, nativism, conspiricism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of extremism’’ simply does not line up with the facts.
In a December 17, 2008 interview with Haaretz Wilders acknowledged that he was considering forming an alliance with the Belgian, Flemish nationalist, far-right Vlaams Belang party.
Vlaams Belang is widely shunned by Belgian Jews and attracts controversy for advocating the rehabilitation of convicted Nazi collaborators.
The ADL strongly condemns Geert Wilders’ message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals.
This rhetoric is dangerous and incendiary, and wrongly focuses on Islam as a religion, as opposed to the very real threat of extremist, radical Islamists.
Pipes’ endorsement of Wilders brings a new low to his credibility as a serious commentator on Middle East affairs.
When George W. Bush named Pipes to the board of the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in 2003, Democratic senators expressed strong opposition to the move, forcing the president to resort to a recess appointment. When it came time for his re-nomination when the appointment expired at the end of 2004, however, the White House demurred. Bush’s spokesman made clear at the time that the president did not agree with his appointee’s views about Islam.
*Jim Lobe contributed to this post.