Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes appeared on the Larry Elder Show on April 28, 2016, to discuss the threat of radical Islam.
Of the 1.5 billion or so Muslims in the world, what percentage of them do we need to worry about?
I would say some 10 to 15 percent are Islamists. That is to say, they want to go back to the glories of a thousand years ago by applying Islamic law in its entirety and its severity. They're the ones we have the big problem with.
That's 150 million people – that's a boatload of people.
That's more than all the fascists and communists who have ever lived.
How many of that 150 million would strap on bombs, go to shopping centers, and blow people up?
A very small number, but in my view it is not the violent Islamists who get things done; it's the ones who work through the system, who get educated, enter the courts, enter the political system, the educational institutions. They're far more dangerous in the long term. They don't kill people in the same way, but they're far more dangerous than those who strap on vests and blow themselves up.
Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes argues that "it is not the violent Islamists who get things done; it's the ones who work through the system." Iran, in his view, is a "much, much bigger problem" than ISIS.
There's some discussion of releasing 28 [redacted] pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that purport to show the involvement of the Saudi [royal] family in 9/11. How deeply was the Saudi [royal] family involved in 9/11?
I don't know precisely about the Saudi ruling family, but clearly there was sympathy for, support for – material support for – Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden in Saudi Arabia. How much of it was official I can't say, but broadly speaking, no question, there was a lot of sympathy.
We have a positive and close relationship with Saudi Arabia. They're funding these madrassas [Islamic schools] all over the world that foam at this kind of hate. What should our relationship be with Saudi Arabia?
The classic example of a tactical alliance is the United States working with Stalin against Hitler. [We had] nothing in common with Stalin; everything about him was repulsive. His goals were totally different than ours. But, it was a tactical alliance – we needed him, he needed us, we worked together.
I would look at the U.S.-Saudi alliance as tactical. It's lasted a long time, 70 years, but it's still tactical, we share nothing in common with them. But, we do have interests in common. They need our security, we need their oil, and so forth. We're not friends, but we are tactical allies.
So, President-elect Trump calls you, Daniel Pipes, and says, "I want to kick ISIS's bleep!" What advice do you give him?
I say, that's a good idea, but Iran is the much, much bigger problem. As I like to put it, ISIS is a thousand times more interesting than Iran, but Iran is a thousand times more important than ISIS. ISIS is horrific, but it's not building nuclear weapons; it's not got a population of 80 million people; it's not got networks around the globe. So, yeah, let's pay attention to ISIS, but pay more attention to Iran.