At the Wonk Room , Matt Duss discusses attempts by the National Review to prove that Barack Obama might actually be a closet Muslim who (gasp!) studied Quran as a child in Indonesia. And here I thought the unhinged right was busy sliming Obama for his connections to his pastor. What an interesting man that Obama is, what a religious innovator: A Muslim, a follower of a controversial black pastor, and a Marxist too. A one-man repertory theater, as talented as the Jews who were once accused of being bankers, communists, zionists and cosmopolitans all at once.
As prooftext for the Obama-is-Muslim attack, NR’s writer brings articles by none other than Pipes. "We don’t know if he is [Muslim], but we know Daniel Pipes is no crank," says NR’s Lisa Schiffren.
Matt agrees: Labeling Pipes a crank would libel all those harmless folks
…who believe that our planet was seeded by aliens who will soon return to harvest us, or people who design and construct hugely complicated machines to perform odd combinations of simple household tasks… There’s nothing harmless about Daniel Pipes… who, since 9/11, has made a career of trafficking in hoary old Orientalist stereotypes in order to stoke Americans’ prejudice against, and fear of, Islam.
Lurking behind Pipes’s fixation is his fear – which I’ve discussed before – that Muslims will exploit the democratic process to infiltrate and destroy democracy. Much as McCarthyites once believed that democracy had to be protected from communism by negating democratic rights, so Pipes-dreamers believe that it must be protected from Islam by virulent intolerance toward anyone who might have been exposed to Islam – or who spent part of his childhood in a moderate Islamic country and might be more open to dialogue with Muslims.
Heaven knows what such a person might do as president. Why, he might remove the troops from Iraq in under 100 years, or avoid turning Isfahan into plate glass.