Muslim organization seeks to block Pipes' appointment

Thursday, August 14, 2003

A U.S. Muslim group has launched a last-minute effort to prevent the appointment of Daniel Pipes to a presidential commission.

The group has called for the estimated five million Muslims in the United States and their supporters to flood the White House with telephone calls, e-mails and faxes in opposition to the appointment of the scholar on the Middle East to the board of the U.S. Institute for Peace. The organization has accused the candidate, Daniel Pipes, of being anti-Muslim.

Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, has been one of the few Middle East scholars who warned of Saudi financing to and influence on Islamic insurgency groups in the United States prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaida. He has called for greater restrictions on Muslim immigration as well as monitoring of Saudi funding and representatives in the United States.

Nearly two years ago, Pipes established Campus Watch, which monitors academics who express advocacy for groups deemed by the State Department as terrorists. Pipes has termed CAIR has the "foremost sponsor of anti-Semitism," Middle East Newsline reported.

The appointment of Pipes to the U.S. panel has run into difficulties in the Senate. But President George Bush is expected to appoint Pipes in a special procedure that does not require congressional approval.

The procedure is called a "recess appointment." Under the procedure, Pipes, a Harvard University-trained historian and former analyst at the Defense Department and State Department, would serve without Senate approval for 16 months rather than a mandated four-year term.

On Thursday, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations plans a news conference that would call on Bush to cancel the appointment. The organization said Bush's purported plans to appoint Pipes is undemocratic.

"This back-door move by the president is a defeat for democracy and an affront to all those who seek peace," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. "Pipes' appointment calls into question all of President Bush's previous statements claiming that the war on terrorism is not an attack on Islam and shows distain for the democratic process."

The U.S. institute was established by Congress in 1984 to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts. The institute operates research grants, fellowships, professional training and education programs. The 15-member board includes the secretaries of defense and state.

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