Bill O’Reilly, to his considerable credit, does not shy away from the appropriate use and discussion of the word jihad–for example, in this posting from July, 2007 entitled, “Avoiding the Jihad“. Indeed, this author had a frank if somewhat brief discussion with Mr. O’Reilly on the subject (albeit “distracted” by the non-sequiturs of the requisite Muslim apologist who also participated in the segment) in May, 2006.
But Mr. O’Reilly has remained adamant that American Muslims are somehow uniquely resistant to the jihadist mentality which he admits pervades even Western Muslim diaspora communities, notably, for example in Britain.
During a segment which aired Friday evening March 11, 2011, Mr. O’Reilly (in a discussion with Geraldo Rivera) questioned the validity of data alluded to by my colleague Frank Gaffney about American mosques–study data at that time in press, but unpublished. The transcript of O’Reilly’s comments capture his skepticism of these findings, and challenge to Frank Gaffney:
O’REILLY: I asked Congressman Ellison last night, OK, who’s a Muslim congressman. There is an allegation that 75 percent of American mosques condone — that’s the important word — Sharia law and elements of the jihad. 75 percent.
RIVERA: I don’t know where that statistic comes from.
O’REILLY: That comes from Frank Gaffney’s group. OK?
RIVERA: Frank Gaffney, again, a hard right…
O’REILLY: He’s a hard right guy. Shouldn’t that statistic be analyzed and either debunked or given credibility if he can back it up? Isn’t that important?
RIVERA: I believe that, were a statistic like that accurate, I would have heard it from a source more reliably…
O’REILLY: Not in the press you wouldn’t.
RIVERA: … objective than Frank Gaffney. I have never seen him when he’s not being extremely assertive and throwing around numbers.
O’REILLY: I’m not saying this guy is right. I want to know if there’s…
RIVERA: I want to know what’s going on in the mosques, also. And I will bet you every penny I have that there’s not a mosque in this country that’s not being surveilled right now by federal authorities, whom I trust far more than Frank Gaffney, with all due respect to him.
O’REILLY: All right. But you do want to know?
Now that the data Mr. O’Reilly questioned have been published, and analyzed, including a remarkably compendious discussion by Frank Gaffney himself, I humbly proffer this challenge to the purveyor of The Factor: Please invite Frank Gaffney on to The O’Reilly Factor to have a thoughtful, civil discussion of the landmark study, “Sharia and Violence in American Mosques”