Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- The president has nominated Islamic scholar Daniel Pipes to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. This has resulted in a nasty eruption of McCarthyism. Pipes' nomination has been greeted by charges of Islamophobia, bigotry and extremism. Three Democratic senators (Kennedy, Dodd and Harkin) have shamefully signed on to this campaign, with quasi-Democrat Jeffords tagging along.

Who is Daniel Pipes? Pipes is a former professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He has taught history and Islamic studies at Harvard and the University of Chicago. He is a scholar and the author of 12 books, four of which are on Islam. Unlike most of the complacent and clueless Middle East academic establishment, which specializes in the brotherhood of man and the perfidy of the United States, Pipes has for years been warning that the radical element within Islam posed a serious and growing threat to the United States.

During the decades when America slept, Pipes was among the very first to understand the dangers of Islamic radicalism. In his many writings he identified it, explained its roots -- including, most notably, Wahhabism as practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia -- and warned of its plans to infiltrate and make war on the United States itself.

Sept. 11 demonstrated his prescience. Like most prophets, he is now being punished for being right. The main charge is that he is anti-Muslim. This is false. Pipes is scrupulous in making the distinction between radical Islam and moderate Islam. Indeed, he says, ``Militant Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution.''

The dilemma for a free society is that radical Islam lives within the bosom of moderate Islam. The general Islamic community is the place radicals can best disguise themselves and hide. Mosques are institutions that they can exploit to advance the cause. These are obvious truths.

But when Pipes states them, he is accused of bigotry. For example, critics thunder against Pipes' assertion that ``mosques require a scrutiny beyond that applied to churches and temples.''

This is bigoted? How is this even controversial? Wahhabists and other radical Islamists have established mosques and other religious institutions in dozens of countries. Some of these -- most notoriously in Pakistan -- had become the locus of not just radical but terrorist activity. Where do you think Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was radicalized and recruited? In a Buddhist monastery? He was hatched in the now notorious Finsbury Park mosque in London.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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