O’Reilly Invents Muslim Silence on 9/11 Attacks

Fox News Channel continues to mislead viewers aboutthe “Ground Zero Mosque.”On the August 18 broadcast of the O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly countered the argument that there would be no controversy over a Jewish or Christian house of worship by saying this:

Nobody would be complaining because Christians and Jews weren’t involved in the 9/11 attack. Radical Muslims were. And you may remember the Muslim world largely did not condemn the al Qaeda action, while most Christians and Jews did.

Some opponents of the Park51 development like to argue that they have no problem with Islam per se. O’Reilly seems to go the other direction; sincewe “may remember” that Muslims were silent after 9/11,there’s something troubling about “the Muslim world.”

That memory isfalse, though.The Council on American-Islamic Relations hascataloguednumerous examplesof Muslim groupsimmediately condemning the 9/11 attacks.

And this is an old O’Reilly line, anyway; as I wrote in my book The Oh Really? Factor:

O’REILLY: “The telling event here is that faced with a violent faction using the name of Allah to kill civilians, Muslims the world over did little. There were no mass demonstrations against terrorism, no peace vigils and no organized condemnation of the al-Qaida criminals. In fact, many Muslim countries actually condoned the attacks on Sept. 11 or blamed them on ‘the Jews.'” (column, 8/1/02)

OH REALLY: There was a candlelight vigil in Iran shortly after the attacks, attended by “more than 3,000 mostly young people” (New York Times, 9/21/01). A few days earlier (9/15/01), the Times reported that “thousands of people attending a World Cup qualifying match between Bahrain and Iran observed a moment of silence.” Palestinians gathered for a candlelight vigil in Jerusalem (Baltimore Sun, 9/15/01) As NPR reported, “Most Arab leaders were quick to denounce the attacks. Jordan’s King Hussein, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri sent their condolences. Officials in Syria, Kuwait and other Gulf nations expressed sympathy for the American people and the families of the victims. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said his country was ready to send aid to the United States.” (9/12/01)

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.