Monitor non-violent Islamists, says Pipes

Daniel Pipes applauds the crackdown on Muslim communities in Germany. Pipes is particularly taken with the proposal by Uwe Schünemann, the CDU interior minister in Lower Saxony, to make radical Islamists wear electronic foot tags: “Doing so, he says, would allow the authorities ‘to monitor the approximately 3,000 violence-prone Islamists in Germany, the hate preachers [i.e., Islamist imams], and the fighters trained in foreign terrorist camps’.”

But Pipes feels that this doesn’t go far enough: “If hate preachers are tagged, why not the many other non-violent Islamists who also help create an environment promoting terrorism? Their ranks would include activists, artists, computer gamers, couriers, funders, intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, lobbyists, organizers, researchers, shopkeepers, and teachers. In short, Schünemann’s initiative could lead ultimately to the electronic tagging of all Islamists.

“But electronic tags reveal only a person’s geographic location, not his words or actions, which matter more when dealing with imams and other non-violent cadres. With due allowances for personal privacy, their speech could be recorded, their actions videoed, their mail and electronic communications monitored. Such controls could be done discreetly or overtly. If overt, the tagging would serve as a modern scarlet letter, shaming the wearer and alerting potential dupes.

“The Schünemann proposal points to the urgent need to develop a working definition of Islamism and Islamists, plus the imperative for the authorities to explain how even non-violent Islamists are the enemy.”

Front Page Magazine, 3 January 2005

It’s reassuring to know that Pipes is willing to make “due allowances for personal privacy”.