Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

Posted Feb 4, 2004      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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by Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

ON FEB. 14th Daniel Pipes Website posted another update (dated Feb. 8) in which he gives this incorrect link to Sheila Musaji’s response (it was actually posted at http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_response_to_daniel_pipes_allegations1 ).  We have therefore added Sheila’s response right after this response by Jeremy Henzell-Thomas so that Mr. Pipes readers will be able to read the entire statement from which Mr. Pipes has pulled what he considers to the the “key statement”.

Dear Mr. Pipes,

Please allow me to respond to your puzzling accusation that I am a “British Islamist” with a “totalitarian mind”. This assessment appears on your website in response to an e-mail I wrote defending The American Muslim against a previous allegation of yours that its logo was evidence that American Muslims harboured an intention to take over America and replace the constitution with the Qur’an.

I am less concerned about your baseless personal accusations than your unjust characterisation of the intentions of The American Muslim, of which I am a contributing editor. One of the best traditions of the British way (which constitutes a common thread in both our histories) has always been a love of fairness and an instinctive regard for the rights of oppressed minorities.

My Huguenot ancestors came to England as 魩gr鳠from France in the sixteenth century to escape religious persecution. They were given sanctuary by Queen Elizabeth the First who allowed them to worship in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. This tradition has continued unabated for over four hundred years, and every Sunday afternoon there is a service conducted in the crypt by the Pastor of the French Protestant Church in England attended by descendants of 魩gr須uguenot families. To this day, I still have a special affection for this mother of English cathedrals where my father pursued his love of history and heraldry as a volunteer guide.

Not long after my family arrived in England as asylum seekers, Puritan 魩gr鳠made the voyage to America in the pursuit of freedom to practise their religion.

Freedom of conscience, religious tolerance and the right to worship openly in any faith tradition have been won in Western society only though a long, bitter and violent struggle. Thankfully, state-sponsored religious persecution has no place in our society, and although religious prejudices may still be common amongst individuals, the rule of law ensures that incitement to religious hatred and violence is a criminal offence even if every aspect of religious discrimination still remains to be outlawed.I am proud of this heritage and thankful that I live in a society where the right to practice my faith is enshrined in law. My Christian ancestors had to struggle for that freedom, as did so many who made the voyage to your shores.

Muslims benefit too from the fundamental freedoms enjoyed in our multi-faith, pluralistic societies, both here in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The logo of The American Muslim is testimony to that happy situation, and as Sheila Musaji, the editor of The American Muslim, explains: ” My only thought was that we are proud Americans and proud Muslims, and Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of American life, not outsiders. There is no other significance intended by this logo. I am surprised that anyone would think that ‘calling down a Divine blessing’ on the United States might be a problem.” And, if I may add to that, isn’t that what Americans do when they say “God Bless America”?

It therefore saddens and disturbs me to see on your website what amounts to a resurgence of persecution of a minority faith group in a society which was once respected throughout the world as a model of tolerance and peaceful co-existence between people of all faiths.

Persecution has historically employed various stratagems to promote and justify its ideological mission of hatred and intolerance. Today, torture as a means of extracting “confessions” from “heretics” and other “evildoers” is no longer allowed in our societies, so other more devious means have to be found to incriminate people and to justify persecution and the stigmatisation and demonization which it entails. These methods include the selective reproduction of out-of-context remarks so as to confirm biases and the use of emotive labelling to push buttons and produce knee-jerk responses amongst people who are uninformed or lacking in critical intelligence or verbal acuity.

I put it to you that you have employed both these stratagems to inform the rhetoric of persecution which characterises your unjustified attack on The American Muslim and on my own reasoned response to it. Not only have you misread the TAM logo but then compounded your error of perception by selectively quoting from my response to your error and labelling me without the slightest corroborating evidence as having a “totalitarian mind” with which “Fascists and Communists would feel right at home”.

All of us who are in a position to influence others through the use of words have a sacred responsibility to speak the truth and not diminish ourselves by engaging in rhetorical manipulation - what Sandra Silberstein has called “the strategic deployment of language” (“War of Words: Language, Politics and 9/11”), a typical euphemism of our times.  I have written elsewhere that Western civilisation must hold fast to one of its founding principles in the Platonic vision which regards reason and dialogue as immeasurably superior to rhetoric. It is this legacy which has ultimately ensured that in the contemporary usage of all modern European languages, the word rhetorical almost always has a negative connotation, implying the manipulative abuse of language for self-serving ends, usually in the political context.

Teun van Dijk, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam, pointedly remarks in an important paper in the field of critical discourse analysis that “it is only one step from an assertion of national or cultural pride and self-glorification to feelings of superiority, derogation and finally the marginalization and exclusion of the Others”. And indeed, I would add not only marginalization and exclusion, but ultimately persecution and genocide.  A classic example is the well-documented shaping by Serbian orientalists of a stereotypical image of Muslims as alien, inferior and threatening which helped to create a pathological condition of virtual paranoia among the Serbs and which gave apparently respectable academic justification for systematic atrocities against Bosnian Muslims.  God forbid that our societies will ever succumb to such evil.

I therefore appeal to you as someone who abhors totalitarianism in all its forms not to become the instrument of the very totalitarianism which you unjustly attribute to The American Muslim and to myself. I am proud to be associated with TAM because of its moderate and balanced outlook and, above all, because it has actively promoted the kind of inter-faith dialogue which builds bridges of mutual respect and understanding between diverse communities. Nothing could be more important at this time when the poisonous and divisive doctrine of a Clash of Civilisations is embedding itself ever further in the public consciousness.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Jeremy Henzell-Thomas


Closing Comments on the Encounter with Daniel Pipes
By Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

Daniels Pipes’ cavalier rebuttal http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/168  of the carefully reasoned response made by Sheila Musaji and myself to his original allegations clearly makes a virtue of brevity. Brevity in words serves one well when it is used as a form of denial.  He proudly counts the number of words he has spent on the issue (a mere 150) with the much longer efforts (over 4,000 words) that Sheila and I felt compelled to produce to make a reasoned response. It is of course well known that it takes a moment to throw mud, but often many hours of exhausting labour to clear one’s name or the names of others who have been unjustly blackened.

I won’t waste much more time, space or energy prolonging a discourse which requires people to extend themselves beyond the dumbed-down mentality of cheap slogans and glib journalistic sound-bites. I have no interest in the language of self-promotion, points scoring, word-counting, easy polemics, propaganda or controversy for its own sake.  My intention was to ask people to think critically and fairly, and to be aware of how easy it is to be deceived by prejudice, and this needed the presentation of analysis and argument - something which I had assumed would be valued by most readers.

The quality of the comments which appeared on our website in support of Daniel Pipes or motivated by his worldview saddened and disgusted me, though I hope that Pipes himself would disown them as forcefully as we have disowned all abusive comments which are an insult to people of all faith communities and which incite people to hatred and violence. The psychic sewer which spewed out some of its foul and contaminating contents before we were able to place controls on the website would be a challenge for Hercules even greater than one of the most demanding labours allotted to him - the cleaning of the Augean stables.

If such comments are representative of the mentality of people who admire Pipes, I can only think that America is experiencing a serious cultural, educational and media crisis which does not bode well for freedom. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1816, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” The quality of English (believe it or not, by native-speakers of the language) was so execrable that I can well understand why educationists are deeply concerned at the catastrophic decline of both writing and reading skills (and, by extension, thinking skills) in American schools. I could hardly credit that I was reading material written by adults.

More worrying even than the illiteracy and ignorance displayed by the comments was the evidence of the festering potential for violence and depravity which is party to the inarticulate rage which ignorance promotes. One of them called for my head to be placed on an American wall. These were comments which could only issue from the mouths of people who have been fed junk all their lives - junk food, junk movies, junk language. And fed too with worse than junk - with a daily diet of those brutal and horrific images of violence and pornography which are now taken as increasingly normal in our society but which are poison to the collective psyche.

We live in challenging times. May God help us all to live together in peace.

by Sheila Musaji

Recently Daniel Pipes included an article on his website at www.danielpipes.org with the title ?Militant Islamic Intentions for the United States?.  Here is the full text from the site:

“Militant Islamic Intentions for the United States. I frequently meet with disbelief when I explain that the Islamist goal is to take over the United States and replace the Constitution with the Koran. Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and here is that picture, culled from “The American Muslim” website: www.theamericanmuslim.org

    The Arabic written across the United States is the basmalah, usually translated into English as “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” This Koranic invocation, the authoritative Encyclopaedia of Islam (vol. 1, p. 1084) informs us, “at the beginning of every important act, calls down the divine blessing on this act and consecrates it.”

    It also bears noting that “The American Muslim” website portrays itself as “providing a balanced, moderate, alternative voice focusing on the spiritual, dimension of Islam rather than the more often heard voice of extreme political Islamism.” Sounds great, yet this website includes precisely such voices of “extreme political Islamism” in the form of Yahiya Emerick and Ibrahim Hooper. In keeping with the above graphic, Emerick is author of an essay titled “How to Make America an Islamic Nation” and Hooper has stated “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”

    I have posted elsewhere the American Muslim Alliance logo of a cresent surrounding an American star; it bears looking at again in this context. (January 26, 2004)

    Jan. 31, 2004 update: This weblog entry has become a topic of discussion at “The American Muslim,” with its editor, Sheila Musaji, sending out an e-mail about it and Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, a British Islamist, replying with the following analysis:
Pipes betrays his own projections in the way he reads an innocuous image showing the Muslim presence in America as an explicit statement of intent by the Muslims to take over the USA and replace the Constitution. The irrational scope of this distortion and the vehemence with which it is uttered are themselves evidence of Pipes’ primitive mental processes. What anyone with a modicum of psychological understanding reads from that is that Pipes himself harbours an intent to promote the take-over bid of which he accuses the Muslims.”

    Note that Henzell-Thomas makes no attempt to refute my arguments but merely blusters and accuses. In miniscule, this is the totalitarian mind at work. Fascists and communists would feel right at home. Permalink

I originally had no intention of replying to this as Mr. Pipes is entitled to his opinion no matter how much I may disagree with him.  However, after the January 31st update was added to his site, I felt that I needed to respond.

I will comment on this statement item by item to avoid any accusation of “making no attempt to refute the actual arguments” and therefore being an example of a “totalitarian mind at work” which might somehow put me in the same boat as “Fascists and Communists” .

1)  The logo of The American Muslim (a map of the U.S. with the Bismillah written on it) has been exactly the same since 1989 - in print and online.  It is simply a visual representation of our name.  I was the founding editor of this publication, and came up with the logo myself.  My only thought was that we are proud Americans and proud Muslims, and Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of American life not outsiders.  There is no other significance intended by this logo.  I am surprised that anyone would think that “calling down a Divine blessing” on the United States might be a problem.

Many organizations have used maps of the U.S. or even the world with a religious symbol superimposed.  The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life http://www.coejl.org/ has a Star of David with a globe superimposed.  The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy at http://www.cija.ca/index.cfm has the Canadian maple leaf with a Star of David superimposed on it.  The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society at http://www.hias.org/home.html  has a globe with a menorah superimposed.  If I had the time, I am certain I could find hundreds of such logos.  I can’t imagine that these innocuous logos prove some evil intentions.

2)  I looked up the definition of an Islamist and it is - supporting or advocating Islamic Fundamentalism.  I don?t believe this definition applies to me personally, or to the goals and objectives of The American Muslim, or to Jeremy Henzell Thomas.  However, the terms currently being used in reference to Islam and Muslims - Islamist, Islamism, Moderate, Militant, Fundamentalist, Progressive, Liberal, Secular, Traditional, Extremist, etc. appear to have many shades of meaning depending on who is using them.

I also looked up militant which means aggressive or vigorous especially in support of a cause.  My cause has always been dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts.  Does working hard for such a cause make me a militant?

I certainly have no interest in taking over the United States or in replacing the Constitution with the Qur?an and The American Muslim has never encouraged any such idea. 

Also printed clearly on our website in the ?About TAM? Section AT http://theamericanmuslim.org/about.htm  is the reason The American Muslim went online in the first place.  I believe that this speaks directly to the question of whether or not TAM represents either an Islamist or Fundamentalist position.  The full text of that follows and readers can make up their own mind about whether our goals as a publication are in any way subversive:


    With the events of 9-11 and since, I became more and more aware that it was time to become active again, and also to re-connect with many individuals who had worked on The American Muslim or other projects and to expand those connections to other individuals.

    I had noticed over the past few years that many of the individuals who had represented the Islamic “middle path” and a moderate voice in the public dialogue on Islam ?? who stood for justice (for Muslims and non-Muslims) ?? who spoke for dialogue, peace, tolerance, building bridges (within the community and with other communities), changing hearts by example as opposed to argumentative preaching, ?? who spoke up against intolerance, violence and injustice (against Muslims or non-Muslims, whether carried out by Muslims or non-Muslims) ?? who saw themselves as proud Muslims and proud Americans—had faded from the pages of the Muslim media, had vanished one by one from our local mosque, had been replaced by other voices that promoted a vision of Islam that promotes anger, discord and even violence.

    I had noticed that the attempt on the part of the various factions within the Muslim community to become “the voice of Islam in America” was drowning out any real dialogue within the community because all too often those who control any particular organization or mosque expected (or sometimes demanded) that you agree with their: Shi’a anti-Shi’a/ Sunni anti-Sunni/ modernist anti-modernist/ Salafee anti-Salafi/ Sufi anti-Sufi/ ethnic/ cultural/ nationalistic/ political ... interpretation of Islam completely, to take sides absolutely. A mentality that says you are 100% with us or you are against us. Those who attempted to work together across these sectarian lines on projects, and issues that concern us all equally as Muslims in America were simply forced out, ignored or frustrated into silence.

    I noticed that within all the Abrahamic faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - extremist groups claiming to speak for all (e.g. Christian militias, Gush Emunim, Al Qaeda, ...) and who justified terrorism or exclusivism were not being universally denounced and were sometimes being encouraged by fellow religionists. This threatens to drown out dialogue between communities.

    I had noticed that the public discourse (Muslim and non-Muslim) focusing more and more on the “Clash of Civilizations” as an inevitable, violent confrontation between “them” and “us” in order to establish the “winner” (possibly the “last man”) as the voice of the New World Order was threatening to drown out any real dialogue between civilizations.

    When the September 11th tragedy struck I realized that the world had changed suddenly and irrevocably. I heard on the news and read on the Internet statements by Shaikh Hisham Kabbani, Shaikh Hamza Yusuf, Michael Wolfe, Ingrid Mattson, Muqtedar Khan, Abdul Hakim Murad, Hassan Zillur Rahim, Bob Crane, etc. that were examples of the Qur’anic injunction to speak the truth even against yourself. They spoke about the need to reassess our foreign policy and correct injustices that lead to frustration and anger, and also stated unequivocally that terrorist acts are forbidden by Islam, suicide bombers are simply murderers. I was proud of them for standing up to be counted. I was thankful that God might be helping the Muslim community to bring something good out of this tragedy by re-animating the voice of reason, tolerance and compassion, but also fearful for those voices based on past experience.

    As I had feared, on the internet response sites, on Islamic sites, in fliers distributed (at least at our local mosque), I began to see angry rhetoric directed against these individuals from fellow Muslim Americans and fellow non-Muslim Americans. I thought that it was too much to expect them to continue taking a courageous stand without at least the verbal support and encouragement of other Muslims. I personally wanted to offer support for those in the forefront of what hopefully appears to be a movement to recapture traditional, moderate Islam.

    I believed that there were many moderate Muslims “somewhere, out there” who were also feeling isolated, and maybe as ready as I am to re-connect with each other, to share ideas and information, to inform each other about their Islamic work or projects, to offer consultation, support and encouragement to each other to re-animate the dialogue within the community and between communities.

    The idea was born to begin The American Muslim Network, contact those I could and see if they agreed that it would be a good idea to connect, share ideas and information, inform each other about projects needing help, give mutual support and encouragement, open a dialogue on issues facing the community in America, and hopefully come up with some creative and constructive ideas to counter the false image of Islam presented by the extremists. According to the feedback I have received, this was an accurate assessment.

    In 1992 I was privileged to be invited to give the Baccalaureate address at Amherst College in Massachusetts. That speech follows, and I believe is even more relevant today, and precisely why we need to re-animate the dialogue within the community and between communities.  This article ?Can We Get Along? can be read at http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002jan.php   “

3)  Pipes gives a very brief single sentence out of our lengthy statement of purpose at http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/about.htm .  The full statement of purpose follows:

“The American Muslim is dedicated to the promotion of peace, justice, and reconciliation for all humanity. It’s purpose is to:
_ provide an open forum for the discussion of ideas and issues of concern to Muslims in America from various points of view (based on Qur’an and Sunnah) representing no one school of thought, ethnic group or organization, but to encourage all to be represented in these pages and to speak for themselves.
_ provide a forum for and encourage inter-community dialogue particularly on divisive issues, and to encourage interfaith dialogue to find common ground for cooperation on issues of mutual concern
_ provide the most comprehensive information possible about individual and group efforts and projects to enable networking and cooperative effort.
_ offer support and encouragement and provide shura (consultation) to those who are speaking publicly on behalf of the Muslim community
_ help Muslims with a deep personal commitment to Islam and to America to locate each other. Help people of faith (Muslims, Christians and Jews) who share our concern for dialogue, peaceful resolution of problems to find each other so they can work together.
_ provide a balanced, moderate, alternative voice focusing on the spiritual, dimension of Islam rather than the more often heard voice of extreme political Islamism. “

4)  Only two out of the hundreds of individuals who have had articles in The American Muslim are named - Yahiya Emerick and Ibrahim Hooper - and accused of being voices of “extreme political Islamism” .  The only supposed proof of this charge against these individuals is an article by Yahiya Emerick (which was not published on The American Muslim website), and a statement made by Ibrahim Hooper (also not published on The American Muslim website).

The two items in our statement of purpose that are in bold should make clear that it has always been our policy to include differing points of view ?  to allow individuals and organizations to speak for themselves ? and to allow our readers to make up their own minds on the merits of the discussion. 

I absolutely disagree with Pipes characterization of these two particular individuals.  However, even if I did hold such a view about someone,  I would not necessarily exclude their opinion from the discussion. 

We have regularly included articles by Sunni Muslims, Shiah Muslims and Sufi Muslims as well as articles by non-Muslims - Christians and Jews (including Ministers, Rabbis and Priests), and articles on many sides of issues as even a cursory reading of our Index http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/TAM-INDEX.htm  will show. 

5)  The article “posted elsewhere” with an Interfaith Christmas Display and an American Muslim Alliance Logo (which is remarkably similar to an AIPAC logo at http://www.aipac.org/ ) certainly is open to various interpretations (as is all artwork).  I see nothing sinister, and certainly find the articles statement that the Christmas Display which includes a Star of David as well as a Star and Crescent looks as if the crescent is   “surrounding and seemingly gobbling up a Star of David” to be a very subjective conclusion. 

That is one possible, and it seems to me,  paranoid conclusion.  In my view, as an active participant in interfaith dialogue for many years, it is simply an attempt to include Jewish and Muslim symbols in a display.  However, neither of these were displayed on The American Muslim website, and whatever anyone?s personal opinion is about these symbols, they have nothing to do with The American Muslim website or logo. 

6)  The January 31st update about a personal correspondence confused me originally because I had no idea how this correspondence reached Pipes. (This made me a little paranoid for a few days).  However, I have now been informed that an individual who was copied on the email forwarded Jeremy’s entire email to some others and inadvertently included Pipes email address on the list it was forwarded to (It was the next item in his address book after an intended recipient). 

I do know that Jeremy Henzell Thomas? personal observations were not meant for publication, and additionally,  only a brief passage was included in Pipes ?update?.  Only this exclusion of most of Jeremy?s observations could allow anyone to come to the conclusion that Jeremy, as Pipes claims “makes no attempt to refute my arguments but merely blusters and accuses. In miniscule, this is the totalitarian mind at work. Fascists and communists would feel right at home.” 

I also know that no one contacted either me or Jeremy Henzell Thomas to check out the quote or to ask permission to post it.

Here is the full text of Jeremy?s email from which the quote on Pipes? site was taken:

“Daniel Pipe’s misreading of the TAM logo is one of the best examples I have ever seen on the psychological phenomenon of confirmation bias - seeing what you want to see. It’s the extreme version, in cognitive science terminology, of top-down or script-driven processing - i.e. fitting input into existing conceptual frameworks and failing to admit data which contradicts them. If I will still lecturing at Edinburgh University on psycholinguistics for graduate students, I’d take this as my prime example, because it demonstrates all too clearly how confirmation bias induces a state akin to blindness. We know also from studies in visual perception that ambivalent images tend to be disambiguated not by logical analysis but on the basis of familiar assumptions - seeing what we are used to seeing.

Of course, we have to ask whether Pipes has simply misread the image, or deliberately misread it to promote his own agenda.

If the former, then he is a poor thinker and needs to go back to school to learn how to think (Alvin Tofler said that the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn - which is a simpler way of saying that poor learners cannot admit new data, cannot refine their existing scripts by admitting new information).

If the latter, then he is manipulative demagogue who adds intellectual dishonesty to his deficits in thinking.

The correct response to primitive distortions of this kind is not to become emotional and defensive but to expose them for what they are through superior knowledge and argument. This is what the Muslim ummah needs to renew.

At an early period of your history I guess that people like Pipes were the ones who saw Reds under every bed. Anyone who has studied the discourse of propaganda knows that the language used in the USA to denounce the Reds was strikingly similar to that used by the Reds to denounce the USA. The language of demonisation is always mirrored by both sides: the Axis of Evil vs.The Great Satan. This is the nature of the dichotomising tendency which underlies all undeveloped human thought and which is the cause of so much unnecessary conflict. Pipes betrays his own projections in the way he reads an innocuous image showing the Muslim presence in America as an explicit statement of intent by the Muslims to take over the USA and replace the Constitution. The irrational scope of this distortion and the vehemence with which it is uttered are themselves evidence of Pipes’ primitive mental processes. What anyone with a modicum of psychological understanding reads from that is that Pipes himself harbours an intent to promote the take-over bid of which he accuses the Muslims. I don’t think we need to ask ourselves who and what he wants to take over, and on whom he wants to impose his own brand of ideology, so obvious is the answer.

It also takes few powers of deduction to realise that had the TAM logo showed any country other than America, Pipes would be interpreting it as threatening evidence that Muslims in America are unpatriotic fifth-columnists incapable of integration into American society. Confirmation bias is remarkably robust (even, incidentally, among many scientists who pride themselves on objectivity).

What I suggest is that instead of defending the American constitution from an imaginary take-over bid from Muslims, he might address the fears of those who are already witnessing the take-over of all that is best in the American system (including the constitution) by a cabal of ideologically motivated extremists in the White House who have not only undermined your constitution but shamed America in the eyes of the world. A more apposite image of the current take-over bid for world domination might be a map of the world with “God Bless America” stamped on it.

And let’s throw in the Moon and Mars for good measure now that the President has declared his intent to colonise the solar system.”

Even a cursory reading of the full text of Jeremy?s statement shows that he did refute Pipes? arguments (although his comments were not meant for publication).  In my personal opinion the totalitarian mentality is clear in this incident, but it is not shown by Jeremy Henzell Thomas.

I hope that those who may visit our site after hearing about it on Daniel Pipes website will check out the articles and form their own opinions. 


On February 4th, Daniel Pipes added another update to his website which states:

Feb. 4, 2004 update: My little Jan. 31 update above (150 words) prompted lengthy responses from Sheila Musaji (3,300 words) and Jeremy Henzell-Thomas (1,100 words). But although my two respondents range over diverse topics (a history of “The American Muslim,” a family history going back to the sixteenth century), nowhere do they address the specific evidence of intention that I cite in the original posting, especially the public statements by Yahiya Emerick and Ibrahim Hooper, both listed on homepage of “The American Muslim” as contributing editors, of hope to make the United States an Islamic country. These statements are hard facts which heaps of words will not make go away. Permalink

The core of his argument appears to be that nowhere do they address the specific evidence of intention that I cite in the original posting, especially the public statements by Yahiya Emerick and Ibrahim Hooper, both listed on homepage of “The American Muslim” as contributing editors, of hope to make the United States an Islamic country.

I believe that I clearly and precisely answered any questions as to my beliefs and intentions personally, and as editor of The American Muslim. 

As to the intentions of Yahiya Emerick and Ibrahim Hooper, I can only look at the “evidence” Pipes provides and come to a personal conclusion as Pipes has.

According to Pipes, Yahiya Emerick appears to have written an article at some point in time with the title How To Make America An Islamic Nation http://www.jannah.org/articles/america.html .  I looked up and read this article, in which it seems to me that he is expressings his opinion that if Muslims live productive lives and grow and prosper as a community then the Muslim community will grow and some day most Americans might become Muslims and America therefore become a Muslim country.  He has written a lot of articles and books (including the Complete Idiot?s Guide to Islam) and expressed many opinions on many subjects ? some of which I agree with and some of which I do not.  He has a website at http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/  where anyone can read many of his articles and come to their own conclusions.

Ibrahim Hooper is quoted (without any reference to where the quote is from) by Daniel Pipes as saying:  “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”  I searched on the net and finally found at least one source which gave more detail on this quote: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=26545  ?CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he wants to see the United States become a Muslim country.  “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper told the Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”  Hooper noted in the interview that Muslims aren’t allowed to take over the U.S. and other governments. “What we fight for here and in the remainder of the world is to practice our beliefs,” he said. ?  I have as yet been unable to find the full text of the Star Tribune article.

It would seem after reading more of the text of the original article that Ibrahim Hooper?s as well as Yahiya Emerick?s comments refer only to the wishful thinking of a member of a particular religious group that ? some day everyone will come to accept their own religious beliefs.  Anyone who is deeply committed to a religious belief system would probably admit that deep down - if they ?had their druthers? they would wish that others would come to share their beliefs.  If I believe that I have something worthwhile I want to share it with others.  This does not necessarily mean that they plan to impose those beliefs.

I personally believe that America is and always will be a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country, and that no matter what religious or ethnic group predominates numerically in this country - the country should remain firmly united under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and that the Separation of Church and State and the ideals of secularism, democracy and pluralism should remain guiding principles.  I not only do not want to replace the Constitution with the Qur’an, but do not want it replaced with the Torah, New Testament, Baghavad Gita, Granth Sahib, or any other scripture. 

I believe that Muslims can be simultaneously patriotic Americans and committed Muslims and have much to offer as a very positive force to improve America.


I would suggest that if Mr. Pipes is concerned with a militant mentality that wants to take over America for a particular religious community, he might better spend his time considering the following quotes by non-Muslim Americans which seem to more obviously express not only this common religious impulse to share their faith, but possibly the more alarming impulse to enforce that faith on others, or at least to exclude others who do not share their faith from full citizenship.  (Pipes has suggested a test to discern moderation in Muslims at http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1322 These statements and views would not pass any test of religious moderation.  There is no need to attempt to understand their intent, it is clearly stated.)  They seem to do more than suggest that:

America is not only one nation under God, but one nation under Jesus (1). 

Christians must have exclusive control of the government and non-Christians be excluded from citizenship (2). 

Even Christians who don’t agree with a particular view of Christianity are “representatives of the Anti-Christ” and don’t need to be treated “nicely” (8)

Christianity offers the only comprehensive worldview (3). 

Religious beliefs might be a legitimate test of qualification for public office (4).

The separation of church and state needs to be removed (5).

This is a Christian country (5), (6), (7).

Hate towards others is good (6).

Christians are called by God to conquer this country (6), and take back what is rightfully theirs (7) and to take control of the government (4)

Americans don’t want pluralism (6).

It is desirable that there will no longer be public schools, but only Christian schools in America (7).

Only Christians and Jews are qualified to govern America (8).

Not only America but the entire world belong to Christians (5), (12)

Muslims are not welcome in one of our states and should be arrested simply for being muslim if they attempt to enter that state (9).

Terrorizing and killing civilians would be justified in order to bring the Muslims to Christianity (11), (12)

1)  “Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And we have understood that our source is eternal, America is different. We have no king but Jesus,” (JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE U.S. ) http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/1/12/222246.shtml
Ashcroft is also quoted as saying “Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you.”

2)  GARY NORTH, ,  (who according to Walter Olson in an article in Reason Online at http://reason.com/9811/col.olson.shtml  ? SERVED FOR A BRIEF TIME ON THE HOUSE STAFF OF REP. RON PAUL (R-TEXAS), the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988, when Paul was a member of Congress in the ‘70s.? ) has said: ?The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant—baptism and holy communion—must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel. ? Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 87. http://www.serve.com/thibodep/cr/goal.htm 

3)  According to Michael Ryan,  in an article at   http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/5518  HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP, TOM DELAY is quoted as saying in a speech at a Texas, Baptist Church:  ?Christianity offers the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of ‘Where did I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘Does life have any meaningful purpose?’ ? and “Only Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world—only Christianity.” 

4)  ?The Miami Daily Business Review reported Jan. 8 that BROWARD JUDICIAL NOMINATION COMMISSION (JNC) MEMBER O?NEAL DOZIER has asked several candidates for Broward County (Florda) judgeships inappropriate questions about their religious beliefs, such as whether they attend church and are ?God-fearing.? Several of those judicial nominees complained about those types of questions? according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State at   http://www.au.org/press/pr040114.htm  Dozier is further quoted “According to a report in the New Times Broward-Palm Beach late last year, Dozier told a Religious Right gathering, ?We as Christians must take control of the government. We should be the ones in charge of the government.?

5)  In an article by Rob Boston at http://www.au.org/churchstate/cs4994.htm  D. JAMES KENNEDY, Pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and founder for the Center for Reclaiming America is quoted as saying: “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost.”  And, notes that in a 1996 Kennedy tome, The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail: The Attack On Christianity And What You Need To Know To Combat It, coauthored with Jerry Newcombe, Kennedy calls the wall of separation a “great deception [that] has been used to destroy much of the religious freedom and liberty this country has enjoyed since its inception.” and he is further quoted at   http://www.au.org/churchstate/cs4994.htm    ?This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God?s help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. And no power on earth can stop us.?  Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1997) (written with Jim Nelson Black).  ?How much more forcefully can I say it? The time has come, and it is long overdue, when Christians and conservatives and all men and women who believe in the birthright of freedom must rise up and reclaim America for Jesus Christ.?  Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search of Its Soul, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1997) (written with Jim Nelson Black)

6)  RANDALL TERRY, the founder of Operation Rescue (a Christian anti-abortion group)  and who ran for Congress in New York is quoted at www.islamonline.net/English/News/2002-01/07/article44.shtml  as saying:  “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you,” Terry told the Fort Wayne (Indiana) News-Sentinel a few years ago. “I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good ... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty; we are called by God to conquer this country. We don’ t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”

7)  According to Americans United for Separation of church and State at http://www.au.org/relrightresearch/They_Said_It.htm  JERRY FALWELL said: ?One day, I hope in the next ten years, I trust that we will have more Christian day schools than there are public schools. I hope I will live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won?t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!?  America Can Be Saved!, (Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 1979, p. 52-53   and   ?Modern U.S. Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the founders had in mind in the First Amendment of the Constitution…. [W]e must fight against those radical minorities who are trying to remove God from our textbooks, Christ from our nation. We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.?  March 1993 sermon, (reported in Church & State, May 1993, p. 14)

8)  PAT ROBERTSON is quoted at http://www.au.org/relrightresearch/They_Said_It.htm  ?You say you?re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense! I don?t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions, but I don?t have to be nice to them.?  Jan. 14, 1991 ?The 700 Club? Program, Christian Broadcasting Network.  And ?When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. ?What do you mean? the media challenged me. ?You?re not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?? My simple answer is, ?Yes, they are.??The New World Order, (Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas) 1991, p. 218

8)  BBC News Reported http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3199212.stm  that U.S. GENERAL WILLIAM BOYKIN said in reference to Islam: “Well you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his,” said Lt Gen Boykin. “I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.”

9)  REP. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-Ga), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security is quoted as saying at a Nov. 19 meeting with local Georgia officials. Chambliss told 30 local officials in Valdosta, Ga., that to combat terrorism a Georgia sheriff could be turned loose to “arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.”  http://www.counterpunch.org/chambliss1.html

10) REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, who performed the benediction at the Bush inauguration, is quoted at http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=337  as saying: ?We?re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us,? NBC quotes Graham as saying at a dedication of a chapel in North Carolina. ?The God of Islam is not the same God. He?s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It?s a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.? Note: I believe that many Jews would be surprised to see this statement that they also believe Jesus to be the Son of God.

11)  REV. ROBERT MOREY is quoted at http://www.cornerstonemag.com/pages/show_page.asp?66  “The greatest weakness of Islam is that it is hopelessly tied to sacred cities and buildings,” Morey writes in his book Winning the War Against Radical Islam. “If these cities and buildings were destroyed, Islam would die within a generation as it would be apparent to all that its god could not protect the three holiest sites in Islam.”  Morey then goes on to outline his draconian proposal:  “With American ships stationed all around Arabia and troops on the ground within Saudi Arabia itself, it would take about seven minutes for cruise missiles to take out Mecca and Medina. These cities could be vaporized in minutes and there is nothing the Saudis or any other Muslim country could do to stop us. The Israelis could take out the Dome Mosque at the same time. It could happen so fast that no one would have the time to respond. With these surgical strikes, few lives would be lost. And, with three strikes against them, Islam is out!... We must tell all the Muslim countries that are presently supporting and harboring terrorists that if they do not cease and desist at once, we will destroy the heart of their religion.” (pp. 168-169)
Note: any such attacks would cause millions of civilian deaths

12)  ANN COULTER said at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/ac20010914.shtml  “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”

13) Ron Pisaturo in an article in Capitalism magazine, “The rights of one American, whether a soldier or a civilian, are worth more than the lives of all men, women and children in all these nations combined. Over time, pioneers, with the paid support of our military, can go into these isolated territories, subdue the remaining savages, install a civilized, colonial government protecting the rights of both the pioneers and the savages, and settle the land—as American pioneers subdued the savage, murderous American Indian tribes and settled America. http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1117

14)  Rev. James Merritt, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, is quoted as saying “There is the idea that we all worship the same God at these interfaith meetings, and we do not,” he said. “If Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, the only true religion therefore must be Christianity. Every other religion gives a false hope of having a relationship with God. That?s not what I say, that?s what Jesus says.http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_tol.jsp?id=352

15) Rev. Maury Davis, a Nashville Pastor is quoted as saying “I want to go on record as telling you that I believe the greatest threat to the American way of life, to the Constitution of the United States of America and to the gospel of Jesus Christ, is the religion of Islam as it stands today,” Davis said from the pulpit.  “It is a great task that you and I have to infiltrate the Muslim community, but we can do it with the help of God.”  http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_hate.jsp?id=417

*  We will continue to add to this section as quotes are brought to our attention.

FEBRUARY 13 UPDATE.  On February 9th, I sent an email to Daniel Pipes requesting an apology and have had no response - either on Pipes website or directly to me.

Note:  The American Muslim is a completely volunteer effort.  We have no funding from anywhere, no donations, no salaries, no expenses that aren’t covered personally, and all work is done on a volunteer basis.