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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 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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