By Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer
January 21, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Saturday's much anticipated squaring off between noted Middle East scholar Dr. Daniel Pipes and London's leftist mayor Ken Livingstone - billed as the "Clash of Civilisations or World Civilisation?" - was a rout, with Pipes - teaming with Brit Douglas Murray - besting the far less articulate Mayor's team while drawing considerable applause on decidedly hostile ground.
Livingstone and his partner Birmingham Councilwoman Salma Yaqoob were rendered speechless on occasion, unable to challenge Pipes' professorial delivery and Murray's oratory.
Dr. Pipes presented the idea that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam, the solution. He dramatically quoted a Quranic text to show that the tenets for civil society were also to be found within Islam, and in concluding his remarks, brought the audience to their feet.
He critiqued Samuel Huntington's theory of clashing civilizations explaining how the struggle was more properly a conflict between civilization and barbarism.
According to eyewitness accounts, Murray "came out with guns blazing" and attacked Livingstone for his claims that all the ills of the world should be blamed on the West, challenging his belief that jihad is "our fault."
Murray called multiculturalism an abject failure and pointedly asked why Livingstone had chosen Salma Yaqoob an Islamist, as a debating partner, noting that she is the Vice Chair of the Respect Party [a group which prides itself of being "Zionist Free"] and had openly campaigned for the release of terrorists and referred to the 7/7 bombings "as reprisals."
In stark contrast to Pipes and Murray, the London Mayor's speech was standard leftist boilerplate, alleging the Cold War was part and parcel of the United States' hegemonistic designs for dominion over all and in what must have represented a Stalinist flashback moment for many in the audience, actually blaming America for victimizing the Soviet Union. He then expanded his comments into a general attack on Western values, though he was careful to delimit his espoused multiculturalism, cutting short of endorsing the practice of cannibalism.
Contrary to the evidence provided by London's 7/7/05 bombings, a similar but failed plot two weeks later and a seething population of Islamists advocating jihad, Livingstone also proclaimed that the city's considerable Muslim population had contributed much that was good.
The Mayor's debate partner Yaqoob was even less restrained calling Dr. Pipes an Islamophobe and, offering no factual basis, attempting to directly link him to the Bush administration's war policies.
In keeping with Livingstone's bogeyman attitude toward the West in general and the U.S. in particular at the conference Yaqoob denied that Islamism presents any threat at all, claiming that terrorist attacks are motivated - and presumably justified - because of Western actions, "imperialism" et al.
The sense of those who witnessed the event was that Dr. Pipes and Douglas Murray won a clear-cut victory, defeating Livingstone and Yaqoob on their home turf and in front of an audience of 5,000.
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