- The Washington Times - Friday, August 22, 2003

President Bush announced yesterday that he is appointing Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, who has long warned of the dangers posed by Islamic extremists, to the U.S. Institute for Peace, a federally funded think tank.

The White House said Mr. Bush decided to place Mr. Pipes on the institute’s 15-member board of directors as a temporary recess appointment, circumventing Democratic opposition led by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who blocked his confirmation in the Senate.

The Harvard-trained scholar, who has written and spoken widely about the dangers of militant Islamic fundamentalists, was bitterly opposed by Arab and Muslim organizations but won strong support from Jewish organizations and a large number of academics.

Mr. Pipes has said that militant Islamists pose the greatest threat to peace since communism and that moderate Islam must be encouraged to combat this threat.

The Pipes appointment was condemned yesterday by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which said in a statement that the “back door, anti-democratic recess appointment will be remembered by American Muslims and Arabs in 2004.”

“Daniel Pipes has made a career of disseminating hatred, bigotry and pseudo-scholarship about Islam and Muslims,” the Muslim council said.

But supporters, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, praised his credentials as a highly respected scholar and his early warnings about Islamic terrorist groups long before the September 11 attacks., which killed more than 3,000 people.

Amy Freidkin, president of the AIPAC, said Mr. Pipes would “serve the president wisely and will be a great asset to the institute’s important work.”

Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Pipes, the head of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, to the post earlier this spring, but his nomination has been held up by Mr. Kennedy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over the federal institute.

“I am disappointed with the administration’s decision. Dr. Pipes’ views are long-standing, well known and decidedly one-sided,” Mr. Kennedy said yesterday. “They are not the words of someone committed to bridging differences and bringing peace.”

The American Jewish Committee dismissed such charges, saying that Mr. Pipes has for many decades been “alerting the American public to the dangers posed by extremist Islamism in this country and abroad.”

Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican and chairman of the Senate committee that considered Mr. Pipes’ nomination, said 30 academics endorsed Mr. Pipes, who has taught courses on Middle Eastern politics at Harvard, the University of Chicago and the U.S. Naval War College.

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