Daniel Pipes is a well-known, Arabic-speaking, global authority on the Muslim world, with a regular column in the Jerusalem Post among others. So in an interview about the Muslim migration into the West, it came as a surprise to hear him make certain statements that are uncharacteristic and even historically dubious. Point of No Return sets the record straight (with thanks: Lily):
Update: When challenged to amend his remarks, Pipes replied:
latter (PoNR) seems to think I am saying Jewish life in the Muslim-majority
countries was wonderful. But I am not saying that; I am saying it was
better than in Christendom. I really don’t think there is any argument
Daniel Pipes…historically dubious
Pipes: Yes, the Muslim world is at a low point today, going through a
crisis, and the West is not going through a comparable crisis. But this
is but a brief moment in time. In 1943, where would you have rather been
In Germany or in Iraq? In Italy or in Senegal? Let’s not say that
the Judeo-Christian world is so wonderful on the one side, while the
Islamic world is so horrible on the other.
Pipes makes an unfortunate comparison between Germany and Iraq. If
you were unlucky enough to be caught up or killed in the pro-Nazi pogrom
called the Farhud,
it would have been small comfort to be told that Germany was worse.
Pro-Nazi forces in the Arab and Muslim world were defeated because
Nazism lost the war. But Nazi-style ideologies still endure today – and
threaten the West – in the form of Islamist ‘fascist’ groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who glorify violence
Pipes then goes on to make the following controversial statement:
” In the long history of Jews living in predominantly Christian
and Muslim lands, it is striking to note that from the origins of Islam
until the close of World War II, that is to say from 622 until 1945, a
very, very long period of time, Jews almost
always fled from Christian-majority countries to Muslim-majority
countries. They voted with their feet because they rightly expected to
be better off in Muslim countries. It’s only the last 70 years, since
1945, a moment in time, that Jews have fled Muslim-majority
countries for predominantly Christian countries.
Not true: Jewish tribes were massacred by Muhammed in
7th century and ethnically cleansed from the Arabian peninsula, except
at the southern tip in Yemen.
Jewish communities lived in the Middle East and North Africa long before these countries became Muslim.
Their numbers were continually eroded by pressure to convert, and the
occasional forced conversion. The so-called Golden Age in Spain was
interrupted by the Granada massacre of 1066.
Jews in Yemen and Iran suffered massacre, degradation and conversion
under Shi’ism. In the Maghreb, al-Maliki Sunnism treated Jews
particularly harshly, after wiping out the Christian presence in North
Much is made of the fact that Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition for the Maghreb, Turkey and
Eretz Israel, but Sephardim also went to Holland and Northern Europe, and re-established the British-Jewish community in the 17th century.
Jews fled 19th century Iraq for India and the Far East, not just to
seek economic opportunities along the trade routes of the British
empire, but to escape the oppressive rule of Daoud Pasha in Iraq. In the
late 19th century Jews fled blood libels and the Ottoman draft in Syria for the UK,
the US and Latin America.
The great mass of Jews in Arab and Muslim lands could not escape. With the dawn of the colonial era, Jews fled
Arab rule whenever they could – seeking the protection of western powers and a western passport.
Deliverance from persecution only arrived in 1948, when three-quarters of Jews in the Middle East and North Africa fled Arab rule for
Israel – the only country which would accept Jews unconditionally. The rest went
to the West, not because it was Christian, but because it was
democratic and protected civil rights.