Freedom of Expression vs. Encouraging Terrorism

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Freedom of expression versus encouraging terrorism, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.  As we've been reporting, about 30 students at the University of California, Irvine (search) wore green sashes to graduation last Saturday, sashes that some believe are sympathetic to the terrorist group, Hamas.

Today, "The Los Angeles Times (search)" editorialized "There's no question that Muslim students at UC Irvine had the right to appear at commencement ceremonies wearing a long band of green fabric over their shoulders lettered with two Islamic sayings...the words reiterated the basic Islamic tenet that 'there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger'...Only Muslims were called on to explain or defend their symbols, though students at the Irvine commencement commonly wear all manner of costumes and sashes."

This is vintage "L.A. Times" editorial page.  The Muslim students are being picked on.

Well, let's look at the facts so you can decide the truth.  First, Hamas is a terror outfit that specializes in blowing up civilians, mostly Israelis.  The U.S. government has condemned the group, as have  many other civilized nations.

Hamas (search) uses a green flag with the same exact words the students had on their green sashes.  Also the Muslim Association at UC-Irvine has hosted a number of radical speakers, including Imam Muhammad Al-Asi, who said in the PBS (search) documentary, "If the Americans are placing their forces in the Persian Gulf, we should be creating another war front for the Americans in the Muslim world and specifically where American interests are concentrated."

Now if that isn't a violent threat against this country, I don't know what is.  All of the above information is rock solid, but none of it appeared in "The L.A. Times" editorial, which portrays the Muslim students as victims of an unreasonable suspicion.

"Talking Points" does not know what's in the hearts of those students.  Maybe some of them simply wanted to honor their God, but the lack of skepticism by "The Times" is instructive.  As we've said before, many in the elite media continue to downplay the threat of worldwide terrorism... [They believe] Guantanamo Bay is wrong. Aggressive action against the dictator Saddam, who actively supported Hamas and other terrorists, is wrong without foreign approval.  Americans sympathetic to the terrorists are within their rights, and on and on and on.

Well, the spin stops here.  Those Muslim students at Irvine should have been roundly vetted by school officials and by "The Los Angeles Times."  This politically correct garbage is working against America.  And it's time everybody including editorial writers wised up.  And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

I hate to dwell on this Michael Moore (search) business but I keep getting dragged into it.  Writing in the "New York Daily News" today, left-wing movie critic Jack Matthews (search) actually compares me to the bomb-thrower.

Quote: "Moore, the sparkplug of Flint, and O'Reilly, The Factor flash are both ideological thugs who play loose with the facts while fostering hatred in an increasingly polarized country."

Well, that's a provocative statement. So we called Matthews, inviting him to explain exactly where I played loose with the facts. Somehow I guess old Jack couldn't reach the phone while hiding under his desk. He just couldn't do it. The best place to hide from thugs, of course, is under your desk.  Ridiculous? Depends on your definition of a man. Real men do not criticize people behind their backs. They do it, Jack Matthews, face-to-face. OK, pal?