Mainstream Muslims Denounce Celebration of Sept. 11

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Sept. 10, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST-HOST: In the "impact" segment tonight, a radical Muslim group is reportedly planning a 9/11 celebration in London tomorrow, drawing outrage from mainstream Muslims around the world. So just who is behind this despicable display?

Joining us from Denver is Asma Hasan, the author of the books "Why I am a Muslim" and "American Muslims: The Next Generation."

Ms. Hasan, who is responsible for this and why?

ASMA HASAN, "WHY I AM A MUSLIM" AUTHOR: Hi, Tony. Thank you for having me on.

Well, the individual behind this organization is one of these mullah types. Clearly has, you know, radical political views. And he's using Islam (search) to justify them.

I have never heard of this organization before until your producer brought it to my attention this morning. I think what he's doing is trying to draw attention to himself. He is clearly reinforcing stereotypes we have about Muslims. And I'm sorry to say, Tony, that I'm afraid that some of your colleagues in the media are going to play into this attention that he's trying to attract.

SNOW: Well, this has been a very interesting week, because the attacks of Beslan appear to have created a wave of, I don't know, doubt among the Arab commentators now. And Muslim commentators, we have seen in major newspapers in Egypt and also in London in the last week, people saying, you know what? We're noticing a pattern here, which is that the bulk of the terrorists in this world, in fact, are -- they call themselves Muslims."

When is the reckoning going to come, and how do Muslims like you end up being able to stand up and not only shut these guys up, but seize control so that the rest of the world says, "Oh, OK, they're on our side?"

HASAN: Well, sure. I think besides, you know, with what happened in Beslan (search), besides saying that, you know, there are so many Muslim terrorists, I think the other thing that has come out of it is that moderate Muslims have said this is ridiculous. You know, we are always against terrorism.

And certainly, this conference, I mean, it's disgusting to me. It horrifies me as an American, as a Muslim. These things continue to outrage moderate Muslims. And what you're seeing, Tony, you know, instead of the media reporting on what's happening every day to American Muslims, you know, people like me will have to come and tell you about it.

But every day, there's another moderate Muslim organization that opens its doors, starts a Web site, starts reaching out, and is trying to stand up to these Mullah figures who, you know, are really lunatic. They're really quite absurd. No one in the Muslim world really takes them very seriously.

SNOW: Well, apparently, some people...

HASAN: The number of moderate Muslim -- the number of moderate Muslim organizations has increased exponentially since 9/11. And I think what we, as Muslims, are saying is, you know, if our mosques are not going to provide us leadership on this issue, then we are going to start our own organization.

SNOW: OK, let me ask you this. You say that these guys are just splinter groups within Islam. But on the other hand, they're well financed. They have the ability to run Web sites. They have the ability to tap into global financial networks. So they may be a splinter group, but they certainly have a certain amount of power.

The question, again, is when do you think some Muslim governments -- the government of Saudi Arabia, the government of Qatar, which has direct supervision over al Jazeera -- governments throughout the region are going to stand up and say, "OK, we've had it. We have simply had it. We've got to change the tone and direction of the religion."

HASAN: Well, I think the thing to remember is that, you know, this man in London who's organizing this conference -- and by his own admission, last year's conference was not very well attended, and this year's conference he's not even disclosing the location, probably that's code for the fact that no one's going to come. He's just doing this to attract attention.

But certainly, when he gets this attention, there are going to be individuals who share his Wahabi views on Islam, his extremely conservative views on Islam, who have oil money, who are rich, wealthy Muslims. They do not represent all Muslims. And they're going to find this person, they're going to send him money. He's probably already fundraised among them.

So until, you know, oil money sort of runs out and stops funding these causes, we're still going to hear from these men. And we, as consumers of the media, need to smarten up and say, "Let's talk about what real American Muslims are doing, what real Muslims in the West are doing."

And as I told you before, the moderate Muslim organizations, the numbers of them have just grown. We don't have as much money as the Mullah types do, because we don't have oil money backing us. But we have a lot of energy, and we are definitely determined. The things that happened on 9/11, Muslims died in those attacks, and the fact that this man in London organizing this conference does not care about that disgusts me. It horrifies me.

I think also something to point out, this man in London, his name is Umar, he's out of touch with what's going on with the average Muslim. And the fact is that terrorism has not helped Muslims around the world. It's actually hurt Muslim causes.

SNOW: Absolutely right. Asma Hasan, thanks for speaking out, thanks for joining us.

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