This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In "Back of the Book" segment tonight, will there be backlash against peaceful Muslims the world over because of the terror attack in London?
Joining us now from Washington is Hussein Ibish, vice chair of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America.
What is your reaction to Friedman's column? I read this in the "Talking Points Memo." I'll read it again very quickly.
HUSSEIN IBISH, VICE-CHAIR, PROGRESSIVE MUSLIM UNION OF NORTH AMERICA: Sure.
O'REILLY: And we respect Friedman here. We think Friedman knows a lot about the Muslim world.
O'REILLY: And he's not like some of the others with The New York Times, trying to impose ideology.
Friedman says, quote, "The Muslim world has been derelict in condemning the madness of Jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwah condemning Usama bin Laden."
It's a pretty powerful paragraph, is it not?
IBISH: It is. And I'd agree to him to a very large extent, in the sense that I need a lot more needs to be done, and particularly we need to ask more of religious leadership.
It's actually not true that no major organization has ever issued a fatwah against bin Laden. There are a couple, but it's not enough.
I think when you survey the religious scene in the Islamic world in the Middle East and South Asia, a lot of preachers are apolitical. They just stay away from the stuff. They don't touch it.
Some, a small group, but very vocal and very damaging, are radical. Two of the worst are in London. One of them just went on trial the day before the bombing. His name is Abu Hamza al-Mazri. You might find out that the bombing could conceivably be connected to him being put on trial.
But the biggest group, and this includes some of the leading voices, are in a squishy middle, where they try to have things kind of both ways.
A good example is a guy called Shaikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who's an old Egyptian cleric who was in Qatar and who's on Al Jazeera quite a lot. He has a program there.
And you know, he's against Al Qaeda. He's against 9/11. He's against these terror attacks in London. But then at the same time, he says it's OK for Palestinians to engage in suicide bombings. And he's against the beheadings and some of the other atrocities in Iraq, but he's generally been sort of pro the resistance, the insurgency. So he tries to have it kind of both ways.
And I think what we want, what we want to see increasingly from religious leaders in the Islamic world, is -- and from other leaders and commentators in the Islamic world, is a single standard.
O'REILLY: I think they're afraid. I think they're afraid. I think clerics in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, if they come out in the -- in the mosques on a Friday night and say, "Look, Usama bin Laden is going to hell, and he's not representing us," on Saturday morning they'll have a hand grenade in the window.
IBISH: I don't think it's true. I don't think that's true at all.
O'REILLY: Oh, I do.
IBISH: I don't think they're afraid. I think we -- what has happened is we have a tendency, we, all of us humans, have a tendency to want to have it both ways, to want to be...
O'REILLY: I know what you're saying, but you've got to look at the facts.
IBISH: Let me give you -- let me give you an example.
O'REILLY: Well, I've got one more question I want to ask you.
IBISH: All right. Fine. Sure.
O'REILLY: And I want to make one more point. Al-Sistani, the big Shiah cleric in Iraq, his second in command assassinated.
IBISH: That's right.
O'REILLY: And I think you've got to understand how bad these people are. And how frightened...
IBISH: Oh, of course.
O'REILLY: ... how frightened a lot of the clerics are. But one more thing.
IBISH: Certainly in Iraq there's no security. But I think it's perfectly true...
O'REILLY: There's no security in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia either. No security.
IBISH: I think there is in Saudi Arabia, and I think there is in Qatar and there is in most countries. The senior clerics are not going to be attacked.
I think asking for a single standard is not a problem, but I think also, by the way, our own government should have a single standard. This case in Florida with Luis Posada Carriles, this Cuban terrorist who blew up a plane with 73 people on it, we shouldn't be treating him like a visa overstay.
O'REILLY: We're not.
IBISH: We are. We're treating him like a visa overstay.
O'REILLY: I disagree with you.
IBISH: So a single standard. You attack civilians, you kill civilians, you're a terrorist.
O'REILLY: You're a terrorist. Absolutely agree.
IBISH: Thank you. And it's unacceptable. And we should not make exceptions for Palestinians, nor Israelis nor Cubans, or anybody.
O'REILLY: Got to run, Mr. Ibish. Thanks very much.
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