Daniel Pipes Strange Understanding of Radical Religious Ideological Movements

Q: Can we talk a bit about radical Islam? You’ve written that ‘Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is,’ and that ‘we need to eradicate the radical variants of Islam.’ What makes Islamism, or radical Islam, a threat in a way that say, radical Christianity or radical Judaism is not?

A: I prefer not to make that comparison between radical Islam and other forms of other religions. I just don’t think there’s any basis for comparison. There is no such thing as a radical Christian ideological movement—it’s fantasy.

In contrast, I think there is a real connection between radical Islam and fascism and communism—so I see this as a native totalitarian movement that happens to have a more religious basis than the others do. It happens not to be western, it happens to have many significant differences, but in its aspirations to world domination, in its totalitarian nature, in its brutality, it is far more akin to fascism and communism than to any religious phenomenon.

NO SUCH THING as a radical Christian ideological movement – please, what do you call all those folks who hold a belief in a particular interpretation of Christianity which calls on them to bring about Armageddon so that the Messiah can return – and who are not concerned about whatever violence befalls the world when this happens because they will be RAPTURED away to heaven by a loving God who will then wreak havoc on all those who are left on earth. They even maintain a rapture index to track how close this might be. This is a Christian ideological movement – and it is radical and violent and absolutist, and brutal. These folks pick and choose from all over the Bible to come up with this scenario, and don’t just believe that some of these possibilities are what could happen to humanity if we don’t learn to live together in peace, they think this is what should happen, and what they want to happen. Read the Left Behind books if you don’t believe me, and see if any rational reading of what they are proposing sounds any better than Pol Pot or Stalin. These folks don’t just want to dominate the world, they want to eradicate everyone who doesn’t believe exactly what they believe, and they somehow think God blesses this endeavor and will help them to rid the earth of the rest of us in particularly gruesome ways.

And, how do fascism and communism – both of which (as well as naziism) developed in majority Christian countries and used Christian justifications become connected with Islam and Muslims? Unless Hitler and Mussolini, Stalin, Marx and Engels and all of their followers in Italy, Russia, Germany, etc. were secret Muslims, this is absolute nonsense. There are plenty of Christian extremists, as well as Jewish extremists, and sadly all too many individuals of every religious group who have extremist ideologies and have carried out violence, war, and even terrorism in the name of their religion.

As Habib Siddiqui has pointed out: “Many Americans are unaware of the fact that of all the religious groups, Muslim Americans have the lowest crime rate, and that prior to the first WTC attack, there was no violence directed against the western culture by its members. A survey of 175 recorded incidents of terrorism in the US from January 1982 to January 1996 showed that of these: 77 were committed by Christian Puerto Rican nationalists, 31 were the work of Christian animal rights and Christian environmental groups, 23 were blamed on Christian left wing organizations, 18 were committed by what the FBI called “Jewish extremists” and 12 were by Christian anti-Castro Cubans. The total number committed by Arabs or Muslims over a period of 14 years was 3 (three).”

Most of these incidents were provoked by “Christian” ideological movements, or more accurately political movements claiming a Christian justification for their crimes (as al Qaeda and other criminals do with Islam).