Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday clashed with Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), during a segment focused the impact of radical Islamic terrorism around the world. CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history.
After reminding his guest that radical Islam has been identified as a motivating factor in the Boston bombing suspects’ decision to attack the Boston Marathon, O’Reilly asked Awad to explain why he is wrong to target radical Islamic groups in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Rather than providing a direct answer to O’Reilly’s question, Awad instead gave an account of his personal emotional state following the Boston bombings and argued many Muslims felt the same way he did.
O’Reilly attempted to get Awad back on topic, telling him “I don’t have time for a speech.”
“You have got to go back and forth with me, OK? You not admitting that radical Islam drives worldwide terrorism puts you in the category where you have no credibility because the facts are the facts. Ninety percent of worldwide terrorism is radical Islam, period,” O’Reilly added.
“Allow me to share with you what Islam means to me,” Awad began before he was interrupted.
“I don’t know what Islam means to you with all due respect. That’s not the topic,” the host shot back.
O’Reilly said it was “absurd” for Awad to claim that radical Islam is not the “driving force for terrorism in the world. But Awad told O’Reilly it was “absurd” for him to try to “redefine religion for me.”
“No, I’m not,” an agitated O’Reilly replied. “I’m telling you that radical Islamists, under the banner of jihad, are causing the most intense terrorism the earth has ever seen and you’re denying it. So either you are naïve or I mean, you are just way out of touch. Do you not have a television set?”
Awad’s response? “Bill, I think you are just making up some stuff about Islam.”
“Making it up?” a bewildered O’Reilly asked.
Awad went on to explain that Islam is a “peaceful religion” and it is his faith. He also claimed “jihad” means a “legitimate struggle” in Islam when O’Reilly pressed him on how jihadists were using radical Islam to commit acts of terrorism.
Watch the explosive interaction below: