Interviews with Daniel Pipes
The Guantánamo Arrests – What Do They Mean?
Fox News: The O'Reilly Factor
Translations of this item:
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.
In the "FACTOR Follow-Up" segment tonight, there are currently 12 Muslim chaplains on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, ministering to about 4,200 American-Muslim military personnel. That's causing some controversy because of the arrest at Guantánamo Bay, which we mentioned earlier in the broadcast. The arrest of a man named Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was authorized by the Pentagon to nominate Muslim chaplains, has now been charged with possible terrorist financing. We'll hear both sides.
First, here in the studio, Daniel Pipes, author of the book Militant Islam Reaches America.
All right. How is it - with I'm stunned that they could have this kind of security breach in Guantánamo Bay. I'm not so stunned about the Muslim chaplains, because that's—you know, these guys are nominated by Muslim organizations, right?
DANIEL PIPES, MIDDLE EAST FORUM DIRECTOR: Right. But there are three individuals connected in Guantánamo who are now under arrest, one chaplain and two translators. I think Colonel [David] Hunt did a great job in setting it up [in a preceding segment on the show]. He talked about the lack of training, counterintelligence, and so forth. But I think there is one more element which I'd like to bring in, which is the fact that the U.S. government sees itself in a war on terrorism. My view is that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. Terrorism is what the enemy uses against us. We're not really defining the enemy when we talk about terrorism. We have to go a step further and talk about the enemy himself. And that is, I would say, those who support militant Islam. And that would apply to Khomeini, that would apply to Bin Laden, to al Qaeda...
O'REILLY: I don't think anybody would disagree with that, that militant Islam is the driving force behind terrorism. But why is it so hard for the U.S. military to keep out militants?
PIPES: Because if you don't acknowledge that it's militant Islam, then you can't go looking for it. You're just looking for terrorists. Nobody says that the chaplain or the translators were terrorists. They were not people lobbing grenades. Nonetheless, they, in their own capacity, may have been part of the militant Islamic infrastructure. We don't know for sure. It's alleged. But should those allegations be true, it could be that they are part of the infrastructure.
O'REILLY: It looks like they are. Again, they are innocent until proven guilty. But look, you've got most American Muslims are law-abiding people. They're not militant and they're not looking to hurt us. So out of that pool, you have to select people to be military chaplains. And it looks like they made a mistake with one guy. Is that a larger issue?
PIPES: I think so. Because, look, the response of the military when the arrest took place last week, was we've got no problem with our hiring practices. Then two senators, Kyl and Schumer, said you do have problems; we're going to look into this. The military said well, maybe we do have problems, in which case we will look at all 2,800 of the military chaplains in the armed services. To which I say that's not going to work. You have to look at the twelve [Muslim chaplains].
O'REILLY: They're not acknowledging that they have a problem in the Muslim area, they want to just look at all of them. Isn't it just a failure to vet these people? That's what it is...
PIPES: It's a conceptual failure. It's an unwillingness and an inability...
O'REILLY: A political correctness. That's what you're talking about.
PIPES: Col. Hunt talked about political correctness; I'm spelling it out. The political correctness is an unwillingness to say "We have a problem with the Muslim chaplains," as opposed to the Christian and Jewish ones.
O'REILLY: But only one Muslim chaplain. Is it fair to define it across the board?
PIPES: Well, but you have a problem now, it appears, with two translators. I have documented that there are six other servicemen in the U.S. forces who have been in some way implicated in violence connected to militant Islam in the last few years.
O'REILLY: Six out of 4,200. That's not a lot, though?
PIPES: That's a lot. Six have engaged in violence.
O'REILLY: We remember the one guy in Kuwait who killed his own people.
PIPES: That's one of the six.
O'REILLY: All right. I got it. I got it. We'll get the other side, now. Mr. Pipes, thank you.
Let's go now to Los Angeles where Sarah Eltantawi, the communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council joins us. What say you, Miss Eltantawi?
SARAH ELTANTAWI, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: I actually did the division with Daniel Pipes' number. I read his article. I don't understand what it is he's trying to do with extracting this large theory. I mean, I took the number six that he spelled out. I added it with the three. I come up with nine. Divided that by 4,200. And I got .21, which is less than a quarter of a percentage of American Muslims who are even being accused of wrongdoing.
And you know what, Bill, before I came on today, I called up some friends of mine, American Muslims who served in the military, and they are outraged. They put their lives on the line. They served as translators, cultural interpreters, served their time in the United States Army with honor and distinction as tens of thousands of other American Muslims have done for their country, and they do not appreciate political pundits like Daniel Pipes who have not served in the military coming in and trying to disparage their efforts on behalf of their country.
O'REILLY: All right. Is it fair, is it fair, Miss Eltantawi, in this age where—and I think Mr. Pipes is right in this regard—our enemy, are fanatical Islamists. That's our enemy. That's who is after us. Is it fair to vet Muslims a little bit more than anybody else being that circumstance?
ELTANTAWI: I don't think so, Bill. Because, if you look again at the numbers. The number is too statistically small to vet American Muslims. And there's a problem here. Who is going to choose how to vet? We've done...
O'REILLY: The military could choose how to vet. I mean, it's their operation in the Department of Defense. In any other capacity it would be the government that oversees whatever project it is. I understand your point. I asked Mr. Pipes that as well. You have got a small number of people, big headlines, small number. You don't want to demonize all the good people, Islam, American Muslims who are doing good things. However, if I'm in the Defense Department, I'm taking a harder look at the Muslim chaplains than I am at the rabbis. Am I wrong?
ELTANTAWI: My point is that the Defense Department and the FBI know more about this than people like Daniel Pipes.
O'REILLY: Obviously they don't. We have three people arrested at Guantánamo Bay at the terrorist camps. Obviously, the FBI doesn't know. That's a lot people in that facility to be arrested as spies.
ELTANTAWI: That's fine, but we need to look at—it is a lot of people. And that's a problem. But what I'm saying is, let's direct our resources toward dealing with those problems. Let's not expand this problem to some abstract ideological category.
O'REILLY: You didn't answer my question. Isn't it fair to vet the Muslim chaplains harder than the rabbis, being the climate that we're in. It's not fair?
ELTANTAWI: You need to think harder about that question. Daniel Pipes, what did he suggest? He suggests that all American Muslims be suspended from their positions until they can, quote, prove their loyalty. How is that going to happen?
O'REILLY: I don't know if that's what he suggests.
ELTANTAWI: It's a quote from his article, Bill. It is a quote from the article. This is the same person who won't condemn Japanese internment. So we need to look and see what are the agendas of the people who are calling for this extra vetting? Is it really national security?
O'REILLY: Look, I'm calling for it. Believe me, I have nothing against any Muslim on the face of the earth. And I'm calling for it. I would do it, just to be sure. Just to be sure. And I think in the interest of public safety, I would be right. I give you the last word.
ELTANTAWI: I think the devil is in the details on that, because, again, I believe that the FBI knows more about what's going on than people like Daniel Pipes. And incidentally, Schumer and Kyl. I mean, these are senators that are doing this for PR purposes. They have moved on to another issue today. You know, this can't be some sort of circus and some sort of show to put on TV. It's got to be real. And we need to give the resources to law enforcement to do their jobs without hyping them up and putting unnecessary pressure on them to serve another agenda.
O'REILLY: Sarah, thanks very much. We appreciate it.
ELTANTAWI: Thank you.
Reader comments (52) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes