Daniel Pipes nomination stalled in committee

Special to the Chronicle

Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee say they need "more time" to study "controversial nominee" David Pipes before putting his name forward to serve on the board of the US Institute for Peace.
(WASHINGTON D.C., July 23, 2003) -- Members of the Senate committee charged with recommending Daniel Pipes to serve on the board of the US Institute for Peace (USIP) asked Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH) for more time to gather more information on the "controversial nominee."

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), in calling for more time, cited one of Pipes' statements--"Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene...All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." (National Review, 11/19/90), Senator Kennedy ended by urging his colleagues to oppose Pipes' nomination.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) associated himself with Senator Kennedy, adding that the "purpose of the USIP is to seek solutions to conflict without recourse to violence. He pointed out that Pipes wrote that "diplomacy rarely ends conflicts," and stated, "Mr. Pipes will not be able to direct colleagues in the mission of the USIP."

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) spoke at length about how offended he was, as a child of immigrants from Europe of the Catholic faith, by Pipes' anti-Muslim commentary. Senator Harkin said, "Some people call [Pipes] a scholar...but this is not the kind of person you want on the USIP." He added, "My state has the very first Mosque ever built in the United States... in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Muslims are a vibrant part of our diverse community."

Appearing exasperated, Sen. Harkin offered another Pipes quote as evidence of the nominee's unsuitability: "[The] increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews." (American Jewish Congress Convention, 10/21/01).

Sen. Harkin's staff contacted Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, who found himself included in a list of "dossiers of professors" on Pipes' controversial "campus watch" website, ( "When [Pipes] talks about Muslims being funny-looking, maintaining different standards of hygiene...I don't know why we are even considering this person, Mr. Chairman," said Sen. Harkin during the committee deliberations.

Senator James Jeffords (I-VT), ended the meeting by saying, "The only argument for [Pipes] is that he would stimulate debate...and that is not very strong."

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) appeared to support Pipes' positions on American Muslims, citing Ronald Reagan's saying "peace through strength."

Following the hearing, Arab, Muslim and Interfaith Groups convened a press conference in the hallway. The moderator, Sarah Eltantawi, Communications Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said "The American Muslim and Arab communities will remember who voted which way on Pipes for a long time to come. We are very pleased with the outcome of today's hearing, but the fight is not over."

Other participants in the press conference included representatives of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Council on American -Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Arab American Institute (AAI) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation.

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This story was published on July 23, 2003.