This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 4, 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: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, the Kansas City airport under fire for reportedly building foot-washing basins for Muslim cab drivers, who have to wash their feet before prayer.
Here's how Investors Business Daily sees the situation: "You would think 9/11 would have marginalized militant Muslims, but it's only emboldened them. Now they're demanding foot baths in restrooms and getting them. What's next, prayer rug cleaning, box cutter dispensers?"
O'Reilly took exception to that last line on today's "Radio Factor":
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: You gave the enemy a sword there, because they're going to say, "Look, look, look, they hate Muslims. They think all Muslims are terrorists." And if you had just taken that line out, the absurdity of the situation stands on its own, does it not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think you have to wake people up. I mean...
O'REILLY: I think this woke them up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do they have coffee shops in these airports that, on Fridays during Lent, take off cheeseburgers from the menu?
O'REILLY: Yes, I know. I mean, of course not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALKIN: The airport strongly denies the basins were built specifically for Muslims or specifically for feet, saying, "Most people who wash their feet as part of their religious observations do so in a janitorial sink in an older part of the building.".
Joining us now from Los Angeles, Hussein Ibish, executive director of the Foundation for Arab American Leadership .
Thanks for joining us, Mr. Ibish.
HUSSEIN IBISH, ARAB-AMERICAN ACTIVIST: Good to be with you. Thank you.
MALKIN: All right. Give us your reaction, first to the story out of Kansas City, and second to the Investors Business Daily editorial.
IBISH: Well, the story's a non-story. Someone in Kansas City has put in a faucet. I mean, that's not a story. The fact that it's upsetting anyone, you know, I think is bizarre. I don't know, I like faucets. You know, when I go camping, and I don't have faucets and running water, I miss them. And the fact that someone put in a faucet...
MALKIN: So are you buying the airport facility's defense now, that they weren't put in specifically at the request of Muslim cab drivers there?
IBISH: Well, I think there's actually conflicting information on that. I mean, what I've heard from other sources, including your producers, is that some of the cab drivers actually paid for this change through a voluntary increase in their own fees.
You know, I don't think it's particularly relevant unless there's a constitutional issue of government money going for something that promotes religion. I don't think that's the case here.
I think what we have here is a kind of bizarre form of hysteria, where somebody puts in a faucet, it's connected potentially to Muslims practicing their religion, and then all Hell breaks loose. It's a very common form of Islamophobia --post-9/11-- to take any issue that has to do with Muslim and link it back to 9/11 in a very arbitrary way.
MALKIN: You've invoked your favorite word, because, of course, since 9/11, this has been your hobby horse, of course, to show how America...
IBISH: You've provided me so much material, Michelle. How can I avoid it? I mean, your...
MALKIN: You've provided me with so much fodder, as well, Mr. Ibish.
"Islamophobia," America is such an Islamophobic country that...
IBISH: No, I don't think it is.
MALKIN: ... well, yes, you have. That has been your message.
IBISH: Well, no, I don't agree with that at all.
MALKIN: And you've got an airport now that is basically catering to them, even though they deny it.
IBISH: No, the United States is not an Islamophobic country.
MALKIN: Well, I'm going to quote you on that. Thank you.
IBISH: There are certain bigots. There are certain -- I say it all the time. In fact, if you look at the report that I did on hate crimes and discrimination, after 9/11...
MALKIN: Yes, many of them fabricated.
IBISH: ... 150 -- none of them are fabricated, they're all true -- 150 pages...
MALKIN: Yes, there is. How about Mr. Naseem at Arizona State University? That was a hoax.
IBISH: Hold on. What I said in that report was that this remains a great country for Muslims to live in.
And I think, you know, the fact that the government or responsible institutions do not see faucets as some sort of Islamofascist plot, as the Investors Business Daily has said, do not link it to 9/11. I mean, this is an advanced form of hysteria. Whoever wrote that piece for Investors Business Daily needs a psychiatrist. They need therapy.
MALKIN: No, they don't. In fact...
IBISH: They do. Someone puts in a faucet, and you go nuts? Then you need therapy.
MALKIN: Because it's not just about that. Let me set the context.
IBISH: Of course it is.
MALKIN: Let's set the context here, Mr. Ibish. Are you familiar with the phrase "Sharia-creep"?
IBISH: Sharia-creep? No, I'm not, but I can imagine what it is.
But this is not Sharia. This is basic practices of any Muslim. You wash before you pray. What's wrong with that? The only objection can be that you don't want to...
MALKIN: Because we go from foot basins for Muslim cabbies at the Kansas City airport to cabbies in Minneapolis saying that they're not going to be shepherding around passengers just because they have wine or they're blind or they have dogs, to target saying that their own employees are not going to be handling pork.
IBISH: These are completely different things.
MALKIN: No, it is a slippery slope, and that's exactly the point...
IBISH: No, it is not a slippery slope. No, no, no...
MALKIN: ... the Investors Business Daily editorial board was making.
IBISH: It's absolutely ridiculous. It's very easy to tell the difference between religious accommodation, such as providing people the opportunity to practice their religion freely, and what some cab drivers in Minneapolis were doing -- totally misguided -- in not wanting to carry passengers with alcohol. That is not the way to get...
MALKIN: I think what Investors Business Daily is doing is making sure that people are not...
IBISH: No, they are not. No. What evidence do you have?
No, because what evidence do they have that these are Islamofascists or militant Muslims or connecting these people...
MALKIN: That's not what they're saying. Did you read the editorial?
IBISH: I did.
MALKIN: They're saying, one minute you're doing this kind of accommodation, and next minute you're obliterating the separation between church and state.
And I find it quite interesting about the double standard, because any time that you have Christmas, you can't say that. Everyone is always screaming about separation of church and state, but here you have a city authority. It doesn't matter that it wasn't tax money, in fact, it was a jurisdiction of the city who paid for it.
IBISH: I think it does matter. I think it matters a great deal who paid for it, first of all. And, secondly, if you can't tell the difference between bona fide religious accommodation and something that goes further, like this mistake in Minneapolis by a few of the cab drivers, I can't help you. It's obvious to most people. It's obvious to most...
MALKIN: You know what, this is a global phenomenon. You know, one minute...
MALKIN: ... and the next minute, it's public schools stopping Holocaust lessons because they offend Muslims. What is next? That was the point of IBD.
IBISH: But this is exactly what I mean by hysteria.
MALKIN: No, this is reality.
IBISH: Someone put in a faucet, and you're talking about Holocaust denial. It's just madness. There's nothing wrong with putting in a faucet and having water run. If it bothers you, you've got some kind of mental distortion. And the fact that we have...
MALKIN: Madness is shrugging your shoulders and continuing to be blind in the wake of 9/11.
IBISH: The fact that we have a political culture that allows people to say, "Oh, someone put in a faucet. Oh, my God, the sky is falling down," it's pathetic, really.
MALKIN: Mr. Ibish, thank you.
IBISH: And I really think we need to cure ourselves of this rubbish.
MALKIN: We are out of time. Talk about insane rubbish.
IBISH: Well, that's you.
MALKIN: ... right back with a man who wants Al Sharpton to leave hip- hop alone.
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