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Islamic Progress Institute

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Islamic Progress Institute (IPI) was the tentative name of a project for which Daniel Pipes, chief of a neo-conservative think tank, Middle East Forum, was seeking funding for in early 2004. 1

According to Anwar Iqbal of United Press International (UPI), the grant proposal Pipes is circulating to "various foundations across the United States" argues:

"It is a troublesome fact that Muslim life in the West is dominated by Islamist ideology. While Muslims in some Muslim-majority countries have demonstrated a commitment to moderate Islam, Muslim communities in the United States, Canada and Western Europe are dominated by a leadership associated with Wahhabism and other radical trends [in Islam]...." 2

Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service quotes the proposal further:

"Through adroit media activity and political efforts, advocates for a supremacist and totalitarian form of Islam in the United States -- such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) -- have effectively established themselves as the spokesmen for all Muslims in the country....
"This situation is fraught with dangers for moderate Muslims as well as for non-Muslims....Islam in America must be American Islam or it will not be integrated; there can be no place for an Islam in America that functions as a seditious conspiracy aimed at wiping out American values, undermining American inter-faith civility, and, in effect, dictating the form of Islam that will be followed in America". 3

The new organization is intended to be a "progressive Islamic institute that would represent liberal Muslims living in the United States." 4

In an article on his website, Pipes comments on a 2003 survey done for Institute for Social Policy and Understanding by Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky:

"...[B]efore the study's release, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the leading militant Islamic organization in the United States, trumpeted the results on its website; and its spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, lost no time exploiting the alleged results....One article describes him pointing 'to a new survey of the views of mosque leaders and congregants in Detroit...as an example of the fundamental moderation of U.S. Muslims.'
"But do the survey results actually say this? Emphatically not; Bagby's results indicate anything but moderation, as some specific numbers suggest:
  • By a ratio of 67 to 33, Muslims in the United States think "America is immoral."
  • About...90 percent of Muslims favor universal health care.
  • Fully 79 percent favor affirmative action for minorities.
  • Asked about the job being done as president by George W. Bush, 85 percent of Muslims disapprove and a mere 4 percent approve." 5

Pipes has been an outspoken advocate of "fixing Islam". [6] But UPI's Iqbal concludes, "...[A]s a moderate Muslim sympathizer of Pipes said, 'Claiming to invent a new version of Islam, an American Islam, is like founding a new sect of Mormon Muslims. How many Muslims would like to be associated with that sect?'" 7

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