Faced with a legal threat from Daniel Pipes, one of America’s leading neo-con scholars, the New London Day backs away from an op-ed it printed two weeks ago by Groton resident Hassan Fouda, who had defended Muslims from attack after the London bombings. Now it’s Fouda who says his credibility has been trashed.
After the New London Day ran an op-ed by Hassan Fouda, a Groton resident active in Al-Awda, an anti-Zionist group, the paper received an angry letter from Daniel Pipes. Pipes is a prominent Middle East scholar well known for defending racial profiling of Muslims. The scholar threatened legal action unless the Day withdrew Fouda’s statements about Pipes, including his contention that Pipes supports interning Muslims, much like the Japanese during World War II (see Piping Up Against the Day, 8/3/05).Editors at the Day showed Pipes’s letter to Fouda, who responded with a list of sources he says illustrates that he accurately attributed Pipes’s quotes.Apparently the Day didn’t agree, because last week, it printed a clarification of Fouda’s op-ed, saying the piece contained “misleading statements and incorrect quotes” about Pipes. The paper then lifted passages from Pipes’s letter refuting Fouda.“I am not a self-proclaimed terrorism expert but a historian of the Middle East and Islam,” Pipes wrote. “I have never proclaimed an expertise on terrorism, a quite different field.” But Fouda pointed to a piece Pipes wrote for the New York Sun entitled “What Do the Terrorists Want?” along with a statement from Pipes on his own web site, trumpeting the fact that an Islamist group had recognized his “expertise” while discussing a House task force on terrorism.Among other contentions, the Day also printed Pipes’s denial that he ever suggested putting Muslims in internment camps. Here the situation gets murky. Fouda referred to a piece Pipes wrote called “Why Japanese Internment Still Matters.” In this missive, however, Pipes does not explicitly suggest interning Muslims.But Pipes does cite the internment of Japanese as the reason why a serious discussion of racial profiling cannot be had in this country, when it comes to Muslims. And Pipes does laud another columnist for providing alleged evidence that Japanese internment was based on valid national security grounds, and that the country had real reason to fear its Japanese-American citizens during World War II.The Day’s editorial page editor Morgan McGinley declined to discuss the paper’s clarification. Asked if he could explain how the Day determined Fouda’s sourcing was not sufficient to prevent the clarification, McGinley rebuffed the question.“I’m not going to do that,” he said, and then ended the conversation.“I stand by every word in my op-ed,” Fouda said. “I have documented for the Day every statement regarding Mr. Pipes. I am disappointed that the Day published what it knew to be false, trashing my reputation in the process. I expected better from the Day.”