Interviews with Daniel Pipes
The Dobbs List: "Militant Islam Reaches America"
CNNfn: Moneyline News Hour
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DOBBS: Now our regular Thursday night look at books on "The Dobbs List," the books that I've found fascinating, informative and strongly believe that you will as well.
Tonight the book is "Militant Islam Reaches America." This book deals with one of the most controversial topics we've ever covered on this broadcast, the war against radical Islam.
The book's author is Daniel Pipes. He's one of the most influential conservative thinkers on U.S. policy in the Middle East. He is also the director of the Middle East forum. He is a member of the Defense Department's special task force on terrorism and technology, and he joins us tonight from Philadelphia.
Good to have you here.
DANIEL PIPES, AUTHOR, "MILITANT ISLAM REACHES AMERICA": Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: An extraordinary, important book. It is a controversial book. But controversy, certainly nothing new for you. The idea of radical Islamism in the United States and an attack against it-give us your best judgment as to why this seems, at least in your judgment, to have been a historical imperative?
PIPES: Why the radicals had to attack the United States?
PIPES: You know, it's in the nature of all totalitarian movements, all radical utopian movements, like the Fascists, the Communists, and now the Islamists, that sooner or later they get the United States in their sights as the most dangerous enemy they have.
And we're dangerous by virtue of who we are, not necessarily what we do. By our democracy, our individualism, our consumerism, our commercialism. And totalitarians can't abide that because, among other things, it is an enormous temptation for their own people. So they have to get rid of it.
DOBBS: And the idea that radical Islam can be compared to communism, to Nazism, as you put forward in your book, that has generated a great deal of controversy. Because some are saying that to call those, as you know, who would destroy civilized nations, radical Islamists-to confuse the issue that there are those who are Islamists and there are those who believe in Islam, and they are quite different groups of people. How do you respond to that?
PIPES: This is very central to my whole outlook. Islam, the religion that is 1,400 years old, is comparable to Christianity, Judaism and other religions. It is a personal faith of a billion people.
The second topic is militant Islam or Islamism, which is a modern, 20th century ideology, arising at roughly the same time as fascism and Marxist-Leninism. It is attractive to a small percentage of Muslims. It is a mechanism, a blueprint, for taking over governments and running societies. It is something very different from Islam.
And, by the way, the first victims of militant Islam, or Islamism, are Muslims themselves. We can join together, Muslim and non-Muslim, to fight this totalitarian ideology.
DOBBS: In one of the reasons that you disagree with Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations approach, is precisely that, that radical Islamists pose a threat to the Muslim world itself. How strongly do you think that threat is perceived? How real do you think it is, and why isn't the Muslim world reacting?
PIPES: Why aren't we hearing from the moderates? And this is a very valid point. The moderates are intimidated, are disorganized, and are not speaking up, in many cases-but there are a few. For example, the government of Turkey, some other governments, Algeria, Tunisia, elsewhere.
But by and large, the moderates are silent. And therefore, what I draw the conclusion from that is as follows. One, our first goal must be to destroy this radical utopian ideology, as we did fascism in World War II, communism in the Cold War. We must now in this war destroy Islamism.
And two, after we've done that, we must empower and help the moderates. They need us. But in the end, we need them to be the articulators of a new approach, a new interpretation of Islam, a new way of approaching modernity, approaching us, approaching the world at large.
DOBBS: Daniel Pipes, we thank you very much for being with us. A fascinating book, "Militant Islam Reaches America." Now on "The Dobbs List." And we appreciate you very much for taking the time to be with us.
PIPES: Thanks for putting it on your list.