Bill O’Reilly called Pamela Geller’s free speech argument about the Mohammed art contest “bogus” Thursday on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
During his “Talking Points Memo” segment, O’Reilly said the free speech issue is not the real issue at hand, but rather whether the art contest was “the right thing to do.” O’Reilly also argued that Jesus “would not have sponsored that event.”
“The dead men deserved what they got,” O’Reilly said. “But the incident was ignited by a contest featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Any depiction of that Islamic icon is a sin in the Muslim world.”
“Many Americans believe the provocation was legitimate under freedom of speech, but that is not the issue,” the host contended. “No one I know favors curtailing speech in this case. The real issue is whether the exposition was the right thing to do.”
The host went on to play a tape of Rev. Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, who told “Fox and Friends” he was “discouraged” someone would “mock the Muslims,” just as he would if someone did so to Jesus Christ.
“Rev. Graham represents the Christian point of view that you don’t demean other people unnecessarily. Jesus would not have sponsored that event,” O’Reilly said. “The goal of every decent person in the world should be to defeat the jihad. And in order to do that, you have to rally the world to the side of good, our side.”
“Emotional displays like insulting the prophet Mohammed make it more difficult to rally law-abiding Muslims, for example. Including nations like Jordan and Egypt, who are actually fighting the fanatical Islamists,” O’Reilly said. “In any war, you have to win hearts and minds, and the situation in Garland, Texas goes against that. Again, the freedom of speech issue is bogus. No one is saying the exposition was illegal. The point is winning, defeating the jihad.”