O'Reilly Compares Shahada to Swastika



O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Factor Follow Up" segment tonight, the dean of students at the University of California-Irvine held an emergency meeting after we reported that some Muslim students wanted to wear a sash, apparently honoring Hamas at tomorrow's graduation ceremony. Dean Sally Peterson also told "The Los Angeles Times" that she had sent us a statement about the situation. We received no such statement and frankly, we believe the administration is not being up front about the controversy. So a Factor producer showed up on campus today...

So we've got a problem here, because Jewish students -- and you're a Jewish American, some Jewish students -- most Jewish students, feel that this is absolutely an outrage at the graduation, being sympathetic for Hamas. Now I don't want to get involved in a micro on this, but we've done the history of these Muslim students and there is no question that they brought in speakers who are anti-Zionist and pro-al Qaeda. What say you, Professor?

MARK LEVINE: Well, there are several issues here. The first issue really is the context. I think the context, when Muslim students want to wear a sash that says -- that has the Shahada (ph), testifying to the faith, to make an assumption, which I think you have done and which someone on your show last night did, that wearing that means you support terrorism and support Hamas, is basically like saying 1.4 billion Muslims, all the Muslims in the world and Islam itself is a terrorist religion. It's like saying...

O'REILLY: All right. Let me stop you here. I want to deal with facts here. All right?

LEVINE: Well, this is...

O'REILLY: Well, the Jewish organization got a hold of one of these arm bands and they had it analyzed. And they say that the calligraphy on the arm band is the same that is used on the Hamas Web site. Do you dispute that?

LEVINE: First of all, all I've seen is a sash, a stole, that you had mentioned, that was pictured in the "Orange County Register." I've not seen an arm band. I have seen -- I've been to enough Hamas demonstrations, covering them. I've been to demonstrations in Baghdad where people were chanting "death to Jews." So I know exactly the kinds of things that are worn when people are trying to engage in this kind of rhetoric, Palestinians or other Muslims. This stole in no way resembles that.

O'REILLY: All right, so you feel...

LEVINE: And the fact that some Muslims -- let me just finish, the fact that some Muslims use this declaration of faith to mean something negative or even to endorse violence cannot be used to say that all Muslims use this to mean violence. It's like saying that any Jew who use the Shama (ph), "here o Israel, the lord is God, the lord is one," just because some Jews engage in violence against Arabs or Palestinians, it's like saying Judaism is...

O'REILLY: But there are certain symbols that stand for certain things. But I'll get to that in a moment. So you believe that these sashes that some Muslims students are going to wear, and these are all Muslim activists, by the way, are signifying what, their faith in Islam, their faith in Allah?

LEVINE: Well, first of all, I haven't spoken to any of the students, so I cannot speak for them. What I can say -- here's way think the biggest problem is. Since I haven't spoken to them, and to my knowledge, there is absolutely no evidence that any of them is wearing this in any way as a symbol for support for terrorism. And in fact, the chancellor -- they spoke with the chancellor and other university officials, and all of them said very adamantly this is not what it's about. We are doing this to signify our belief in God...

O'REILLY: I've got a specific question. Say I show up at U.C. Irvine graduation, I'm a student. I've got a swastika on my arm. And you, rightly so, go, hey, you're not wearing that swastika, it's offensive. It symbolizes evil and it's totally inappropriate. I say that's not really what you think it is, Professor, that's a Native American sign, all right, for nature. As you know, that's the derivative of the swastika. This is the game you're playing, and I think you're getting con..

 


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