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Illinois Campus Paper Follows CAIR's Lead By: James Sobotka
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 05, 2003

When I first saw the flyer announcing Daniel Pipes’ upcoming visit to the University of Illinois campus this week, my first thought was, “How long until The Daily Illini decides to smear him?”

Predictably, Wednesday’s DI editorial (which, interestingly enough does not appear online) and recent published letters have spared no rhetoric to discredit him.


“Pipes is an extremist,” declares the DI, and verifies this with an out-of-context quotation more than ten years old.  This is not all. The Daily Illini has been running a campaign against Dr. Pipes for months.


“People like Daniel Pipes are dangerous and need to be identified for the bigots and warmongers they are,” says a writer from Missouri. 


“Pipes,” writes another, “has been discriminatory against (anything) Muslim or Arab. He supported ‘unrestricted’ profiling for Muslims and Arabs,” says another. Another asks if Pipes’ views remind us of “what happened over 60 years ago in the middle of the civilized world, in Germany?”


What has been published is nothing short of slander. I expect better from a paper that has won an Associated College Press Award twice in a row.[1] The DI editors have taken it upon themselves to ruin the reputation of Dr. Daniel Pipes. Consider this lengthy list of columns and letters:


·        “Pipes against peace”

·         “Pipes not an expert”

·        “Pipes shouldn’t be nominated

·        “Pipes: the wrong man

·        “Racism and Scholarship

·        “Say no to Pipes” 


None of these letters are from Illinois and one is from as far away as California.  The last one is particularly interesting. It is not a letter, but uses text that was directly lifted from a press release put out by the Council of American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, an organization that routinely defends Islamic violence. 


How could The Daily Illini publish this?  Both staff columnists writing on Dr. Pipes also quote sections verbatim from the CAIR website without any verification. This is particularly disturbing since CAIR’s website is dangerously misleading and filled with fictional comments. And why would the editors not at least look at the other side of the argument? CAIR’s entire position against Dr. Pipes is carefully and calmly refuted by Dr. Pipes himself on his own website, www.DanielPipes.org, should the truth be of any interest to the DI.


The Daily Illini stooped even lower after Dr. Pipes came to speak at the University. Before he had uttered a word, campus radicals already made their voice known, in the editorial today and two letters:

·          “Expert spews hate

·         “Support speech that is not hateful”


These letters are incredibly disappointing. There is no need to compare Dr. Pipes to extremists. He is a distinguished academic. He boasts a Harvard Ph.D. in Islamic History, has taught at Harvard, University of Chicago and the Naval War College, studied and written on the Islamic world for thirty years and has written 12 books on the region, its culture and history.


It was Daniel Pipes who said, “militant Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution,” and “the U.S. government should never fund a documentary whose obvious intent is to glorify a religion and proselytize for it. Doing so flies in the face of American tradition and law.”


It was Daniel Pipes who argued that, “in brief, far from thinking the Palestinians a miserable people, I call attention to their dignity and talent, then propose how to liberate them from their demons so they can build a civil society and decent lives.”


Rather than printing these statements, the DI chose to forward unsubstantiated propaganda of a political website as fact, and pair it with an insidious graphic of a Star of David drawn going up in flames. 


What is Daniel Pipes’ crime then? It is simply this: he recognizes that Islam is increasingly being hijacked by militants, or in his terms, Islamists. These Islamists stand against everything that The Daily Illini claims to defend: religious tolerance, equal rights, democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.


Daniel Pipes has never, in any way, called for blanket anti-Islamic action, but for an active assault against those elements of Islamic society that would install Taliban-like regimes around the world. He calls for America and its allies to defend themselves from this assault on freedom.


For those whose minds were not corrupted by CAIR propaganda, it is my hope that you might walk into his lecture with open minds.  It is also my hope that the students of Illinois have not been corrupted by The Daily Illini, which claims to be an open forum, but performs as little more than as parrot for a grotesque political agenda.

James Sobotka is a senior in engineering at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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