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Muslim Controversy: Cal Thomas vs. Hussein Ibish

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 6, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

MICHELLE MALKIN, GUEST HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Michelle Malkin in for Bill O'Reilly.

And in the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, some provocative radio commentary in the aftermath of the London terror plot, sparking outrage in the Muslim community.

Here's what conservative columnist Cal Thomas said on WTOP Radio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAL THOMAS, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: How much longer should we allow people from certain lands with certain beliefs to come to Britain and America and build their mosques, teach hate and plot to kill us?

OK, let's have the required disclaimer. Not all Muslims from the Middle East and South Asia want to kill us, but those who do blend in with those who don't.

Would anyone tolerate a slow spreading cancer because it wasn't fast spreading? Probably not. You'd want it removed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALKIN: That led the Council on American-Islamic Relations to urge its supporters to contact the radio station to complain. CAIR declined our invitation this evening.

But joining us now from Washington is Hussein Ibish, the executive director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership, and Cal Thomas, who is also a panelist on "FOX News Watch", which airs tomorrow night at 6:30.

Cal, what's this all about? Now, I — I've been following CAIR, and I know that they've waged a war on many conservative talk show hosts over the last several years. You're the latest target. Why are they so mad at you?

THOMAS: Well, I think I'm exposing the obvious. I'm telling the truth. Anybody with — with eyes to see and ears to hear know what the radicals have in store for us. They preach it from their mosques. And they teach it in their madrasahs around the world.

They put it in their media, the Palestinian media: jihad, jihad, kill the Jews, kill the cross worshippers, take over America. Caliphate from one end of the country to the other.

Now, after you've said this for years and after you've demonstrated by some of your actions, prudent people might wish to take steps to defend themselves.

Obviously, not all Muslims feel this way. But even if only ten percent, which is the reigning percentage that most people accept, of the world's 1.2, 1.3 billion Muslims are, in fact, jihadist terrorists, that's more than 100 million people. It's something we better watch out for

MALKIN: WTOP airs your radio commentaries. And after they aired this commentary that CAIR complained about, the radio station aired a counter commentary from Ibrahim Hooper. And yet he won't come on the show to confront you directly. What does that say?

THOMAS: Well, I don't know. You'd have to ask him. I do know that the mail is running ten to one in my favor. I checked with the news director.

But look, this isn't a game. This is something that is very serious. And I guarantee you that no nation where Sharia law is practiced, which is a growing number of them, would allow churches and synagogues to be built in their country, as we are allowing mosques to be built in this country, would allow for — for Christian and Jewish schools to be constructed and teach their beliefs in those countries, as we are allowing Muslim schools to be built in this country.

So I'm just asking questions, as we are being invaded by a foreign force more effective than communism or Nazism ever did; though they tried, they were not as successful.

And these people, those who are terrorists, those who want to kill us, believe they have a direct mandate from their God to do so. That's pretty difficult for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to negotiate.

MALKIN: Hussein Ibish...

HUSSEIN IBISH, ARAB-AMERICAN ACTIVIST: Yes.

MALKIN: ... you're the proxy here, because CAIR will not come on directly and talk to us.

IBISH: I'm happy to be with you.

MALKIN: So why don't you go ahead and parrot what CAIR would say?

IBISH: I'm not going to parrot anything. I'm going to speak for myself. And I think it's extremely unfair of you to say that.

But look, look, I mean, the basic problem with what Cal Thomas is saying is he's not making a distinction between a fanatical extremist fringe, which definitely needs to be confronted and is being confronted all over the world, especially in the Muslim world. Look what's happening in Pakistan over the past couple days.

And all over the Islamic world the mainstream societies are trying to confront these extremists. And we have to confront extremism when it rears its head in the west, as well.

But Cal Thomas doesn't make a distinction between the extremists and the generalized Muslim population in the United States. He says you can't tell the difference. It's all a cancer.

The implications are clear, I think, even to small children. This is spreading fear and hatred. There's no question about it.

He's not telling the truth. He's asking, in his open ended questions, how long are we going to let these people come and build their mosques. The implications are very clear.

MALKIN: Let me ask you...

IBISH: So we need — we don't have to debate whether this is promoting — deliberately promoting fear and hatred. It's obvious.

MALKIN: Did you have a problem when Thomas Friedmann (ph) said very similar things after the 7/7 bombings in 2005? In fact, he used the phrase "cancer" when he talked about how Muslims themselves needed to solve this problem of a cancer and the death cult within their own community. Did you have an objection to that?

IBISH: Not really. Because I actually...

MALKIN: It's the same thing.

IBISH: No, no, it's not. What — the way Friedmann (ph) put it, and I would actually agree with it, is that there is an — you know, there is an extreme fanatical fringe, as I said, that needs to be confronted. And I agree with that very strongly.

MALKIN: He didn't say that.

IBISH: Hold on. Let me finish. Let me finish.

MALKIN: I have the exact quote. Let me say it before you mischaracterize it: "It is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer within its own body politic, it is going to affect Muslim-American relationships."

IBISH: Completely — yes, completely different from what Cal Thomas said. Because what Cal Thomas said is that you can't tell the difference between ordinary American Muslims and an extremist fringe, or ordinary British Muslims and an extremist fringe. And then he said wouldn't you want to remove cancer?

The implication is clear that you — if you can't tell the difference between, you know, the mainstream of a population and a potentially dangerous fringe, you have to condemn everyone.

This is a logic that appealed to you in your book in defense of interment, when you endorsed the imprisonment of all the Japanese-Americans during World War II. I mean, so it's true that there are hateful people...

MALKIN: You should read my book. You should read my book before you mischaracterize it.

IBISH: I read it very carefully. And you did endorse it. In fact, it's called "In Defense of Internment". So you can't hide from it. I'm sorry.

MALKIN: I'm not hiding from anything.

IBISH: I think most Americans are really sick of this divisiveness. And I think we need to move from this and try to become part of the solution and not part of the problem. You have to present something more to extrapolate.

MALKIN: All right. Well, let's move to Cal Thomas so that he can respond to what you said.

THOMAS: You can't — the fact is you can't tell the difference. Look at these doctors, these physicians. These are people who took a Hippocratic Oath to preserve life. They deliberately, as part of their strategy, moved into the British medical community.

And now we find out, courtesy of "The Telegraph" of London, they were making contacts with a medical group in Philadelphia, possibly seeking to infiltrate the Philadelphia medical community. That's their whole modus operandi, to appear non-threatening.

If you look at Mohammad Atta's diary from the 9/11 plane hijackings, you see their instructions in there on how to dress: shave your beard. How to shake hands, how to look non-threatening.

These people deliberately move among — and I grant you many peaceful Muslims who want to become fully Americanized — and use their religion to kill the rest of us. That's what we have to guard against.

IBISH: Of course, criminal — it's true that criminals try to hide. But they were also told stay away from mosques, stay away from Arab- American centers. You know, just stay in diverse little communities all over the place.

Listen, I agree that there's a problem. But I think, you know, we need to try to...

MALKIN: Hussein, we're running out of time.

IBISH: We need to be more constructive. And I invite both of you to have lunch with me next week to try to talk about figuring out ways of being more constructive.

MALKIN: I'll check my calendar. Gentlemen, thank you.

THOMAS: Thank you, Michelle.

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