CAIR-Chicago’s Ahmed Rehab and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly discuss Congressmen Mike Quigley’s apology for Islamophobia in the U.S. as O’Reilly goes on to deny that Muslim Americans face discrimination. Rehab provides several statistics and examples that prove O’Reilly is blatantly wrong.
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20 September 2011
Fox News: The O’Reilly Factor
O’REILLY: “Personal Story Segment” tonight, speaking before the American Islamic College Conference in Chicago over the weekend, Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois apologized to Muslim Americans.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: — forms of discrimination come in many forms, many shapes and many guises. You have my pledge to work with you to fight them. And I think it’s appropriate for me to apologize on behalf of this country for discrimination you face.
O’REILLY: Wow. The question, what discrimination? Mr. Quigley unavailable this evening, but joining us now from Chicago, Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR in Chicago. He was at the event on Saturday.
Look, I don’t want to be a wise guy here. After 9/11, there were Americans who looked askance at anybody who was a Muslim. Ok. But the stats don’t back up Mr. Quigley’s assertion that there is an institutional bias against Muslim Americans. There is simply no statistics, none, that demonstrate that. Am I wrong?
AHMED REHAB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAIR CHICAGO: You’re wrong in several ways. First of all, I think one would have to be living under a rock with all due respect, not to notice the uptick that we’re seeing in this country in terms of both Islamophobic remarks from people in power, not just people on the street but people who are elected to represent Americans in government.
O’REILLY: You want to cite an example?
REHAB: Well, yes. I mean, one example is pretty much everything that comes out of the mouth of Representative Allen West. When your producer called me to be on the show, I was rather surprised that it was to react to someone expressing sympathy against Islamophobia, rather than to talk about the crazy, kooky stuff another representative says day in and day out about Muslims.
O’REILLY: All right. but did West say anything that you can quote to us, because I’m not real familiar with what —
REHAB: Only that Islam is the enemy and that Islam is not a religion. If Islam is the enemy, then Muslims are the enemy.
O’REILLY: Ok. You may remember Mr. Rehab, that I said on the view that Muslims attacked us on 9/11. All right? And then that caused all kinds of controversy, as Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg walked off the set. At the time I was kind of surprised because I feel that everybody knows that I was referring to Jihadists and extremists in al Qaeda, but they were all Muslims, 100 percent.
But I don’t consider myself anti-Muslim. I’ve been to many Muslim countries. Always enjoyed myself there. Admire the culture. I’m not anti-Muslim. But I guess you would think that I would be?
REHAB: Actually, Bill, this may surprise you, but I don’t. I’ve heard your positions. I disagree with many of them, but I don’t regard you as an anti-Muslim individual.
O’REILLY: Ok. Thank you.
REHAB: However, there are people, unfortunately — well, there are people in government even, in Congress, I think people like Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich in the past, we have now Representative Allen West, Peter King, that made statements that would, reasonably, make them anti- Muslim. There are stats contrary to what you said in the introduction that shows it is a concern.
O’REILLY: I’m not sure about that. Look, I’ll grant you this that maybe those people have said things that you don’t agree with and you don’t like and you took personally. But I know all three of those individuals and I don’t think they’re anti-Muslim. Just me.
REHAB: I disagree.
O’REILLY: Now, the stats from the FBI are interesting. This is hate crimes.
Anti-Islamic hate crimes in 2009, last stats available, 107. Compared to anti-black hate crimes, 2284. Anti-Jewish, 931. So it seems the
Jewish- Americans have much more of a beef than Muslim-Americans. Do they not?
REHAB: Yes. There are many confounding factors. Jews have been in this country longer as a community and learned to deal with anti-Semitism more systematically by reporting it. In our case, there are many immigrants who comprise the American-Muslim community who are afraid to speak out against the hatred or bigotry.
O’REILLY: Then how would you know that there are those times if they’re afraid to speak out? How would you know that there are those crimes then? I’m not saying there aren’t. You might be right, but you couldn’t know.
REHAB: Well, there are different things we look at. We have thousands of cases of discrimination. We’ve dealt within our own organization alone about employment discrimination. Actually the EEOC has reported that the complaints they received about anti-Muslim discrimination in the workplace has been on the rise five years in a row.
And when you look on the other side, you look at stats and polls that come out, for example, “USA Today”/Gallup poll, the reports that 39 percent of Americans said they favored requiring Muslims, including American- citizens, to carry special identification. A “Time” poll showed one third of Americans believed that Muslims should be barred from running for President of the United States. American citizens who otherwise would qualify.
O’REILLY: All right Mr. Rehab.
O’REILLY: Those stats do bolster your argument. But I will point to the fact that in the economic realm, Muslim Americans doing pretty well. Doing pretty well.
REHAB: I would live in America more than anywhere else.
O’REILLY: Yes. They’re prospering. They’re prospering in America.
REHAB: But we have an issue and we need to deal with this issue, one that is called Islamophobia.
O’REILLY: That’s why we have you on the program, then people can make up their own mind. We don’t want anybody to be anti-Muslim. Thank you for coming on here.
REHAB: Thank you.