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OMG! Ground Zero Mosque Imam Is Associated With A Truther!

Reported by Ellen - September 14, 2010 -

It was hard to believe Bill O’Reilly was serious Monday night (9/13/10) as he solemnly shared what he considered grave evidence that the so-called Ground Zero Mosque imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is associated with “a radical Muslim," is therefore likely not dedicated to peace and should not be allowed “within ten miles of Ground Zero.” So who is this dangerous radical Muslim friend of Rauf's? A medical doctor, who practices at what O’Reilly described as a prestigious Long Island hospital, but who also happens to believe 9/11 was an inside job. But it wasn't just O'Reilly grasping at this particular McCarthyesque straw. In concert with the meme, FoxNews.com called its video of the segment, Evidence NYC Mosque Imam Associated with Radical Muslim.

First of all, can there be any doubt that if President Obama were in office on 9/11, Fox News pundits would characterize “truthers” as legitimate skeptics? You know, similar to the way Fox News treats contributor Newt Gingrich who gave a not-so-subtle nod to birtherism when he recently said, “Only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [President Obama’s actions].” Or the way Sean Hannity presented birther Jerome Corsi as a credible author. Or how Glenn Beck repeatedly suggests Obama is a socialist. Or how Hannity tried to paint him as a Muslim or Muslim favorer.

But getting back to truthers, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura is a truther and while O’Reilly referred to Ventura as a “pinhead,” I’ve yet to see anyone on Fox suggest he’s a radical or Al Qaeda supporter. Hmm, could that be because Ventura’s not a Muslim?

O’Reilly was grim-faced as he announced that the subject of his Talking Points Memo was, as he put it, “evidence that the ground zero imam is associated with a radical Muslim.” O’Reilly said, “evidence shows” that fears “may now be valid” the ground zero mosque has “radical ties.”

The “radicalism” O’Reilly was referring to was a blog post in which Rauf's friend and associate, Faiz Khan, M.D. wrote, “The prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as ‘militant Islam’ although the phenomenon known as ‘militant Islamic networks’ may have played a partial role… perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat.” O’Reilly conveniently overlooked some other excerpts from that post, such as Khan’s effusive praise of America:

Huge segments of American Muslims came to this country looking to better their lives through opportunities afforded by American society. Thankfully, many have found success. For them, the reality is that the US is the best place on earth in terms of opportunity, and returns on hard work, honesty and obeying rules. They see that the blatant nepotism, corruption, bribery, and cut throatedness necessary to socio-economically ascend in their home-countries was relatively absent here. This is true – and as an American, I am proud of this.

O’Reilly also forgot to mention that the blog Khan was posting on is called the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth. Khan may be a conspiracy theorist – a pinhead, even – but O’Reilly presented no evidence – nada, none – that Khan is a radical. O’Reilly should be ashamed for trying to further fan the flames of this divisive controversy with such blatant fear mongering.

O’Reilly went on to add McCarthyism to his despicable suggestions. “There is no question, no question that the truther Khan has a relationship with Rauf. And that was not made public by Rauf, a major mistake for a man under so much scrutiny. So what’s going on here?” O’Reilly called it “simply unacceptable” that both Rauf and Khan declined to comment to Fox about this. That, O’Reilly pronounced, “should be enough to table the entire project until clarification is forthcoming.”

So let’s get this straight. O’Reilly and his colleagues deliberately set up Rauf as a Muslim punching bag every day with inflammatory remarks that are presented as substantive debate and now they’re hitting him again for not treating them as a legitimate news outlet. Who’s really acting like a radical, Mr. O’Reilly?

I’ve also got to wonder whether O’Reilly isn’t planning on sending his super stalker, Jesse Watters to ambush Imam Rauf.

“We are willing to listen,” O’Reilly said, without a trace of irony. “But let’s stop this nonsense about the community center being simply a monument to peace. The truth is, we don’t know what the project is a monument to. Again, Imam Rauf has some explaining to do.”

Then O’Reilly brought on Ray Locker for further attacks analysis.

Speaking of questionable associations, Locker works for the Investigative Project on Terrorism, an outfit headed by Steven Emerson, an anti-Islamic zealot who, as FAIR reported, is less interested in investigations than he is in “an unrelenting attack against Arabs and Muslims.” Some of Emerson’s “credentials” include wrongly alleging on CNN in 1996 that a bomb “brought down TWA Flight 800” and that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing showed "a Middle Eastern trait" because it "was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible." But O’Reilly, so quick to condemn Rauf for not disclosing Khan’s background, made no mention of Locker’s. Instead, Locker was presented as a bona fide, undisputed expert to the “we report, you decide” network’s audience.

Locker and O’Reilly wasted no time further implying that Khan, and therefore Rauf, was up to something nefarious and covert – still without a scintilla of evidence.

“He (Rauf) had to know that we were going to find about this guy, did he not?” O’Reilly said, as if Khan had done something really heinous and as if he, O’Reilly, had uncovered the plot of the century.

“Where is the next dot?” O’Reilly asked Locker accusingly, without even considering that there might not be a “next dot.” He wagged his finger and sneered again about Rauf calling himself a “man of peace” and yet associating with Khan – as if being a truther means you’re an enemy of America.

“Whether (Rauf is) a moderate, who knows?” Locker said, throwing in his own unfounded suggestiveness. Excuse me? Wasn't Locker there because he was supposed to know? “But there’s plenty of evidence that when it comes to reporting what he does, where his money comes from, there’s not much there,” Locker said gravely.

With a reliable Islamophobe on deck, O’Reilly now played at being objective. “Many Americans believe that this mosque is gonna be a front for Muslims who don’t like the USA. It’s going to be used for nefarious purposes. Do you have any evidence to show that might be the case?” he asked Locker.

No, Locker didn’t, but that didn’t stop him from isinuating otherwise. “No, not really. We just have a lot of questions. We’ve looked at the funding sources to Rauf’s two organizations, have found some… from other countries, not particularly dangerous countries, but other countries nonetheless. But who knows? I mean, once the thing gets going, he forms another non-profit where he doesn’t have to disclose his contributors. Nobody knows where that money’s coming from.”

Since O’Reilly feels that it’s so important to be up front about any possible radical connections to the so-called mosque, we’ll be asking him why he has not discussed his own connection to Rauf- and madrassa-supporting, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, one of the largest shareholders of News Corp., parent company of O’Reilly’s employer. Bin Talal is not just a backer of the mosque, his statements suggesting that American policy may have played a role in 9/11 so enraged then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani that he promptly returned Bin Talal’s relief check of $10 million.

Isn’t it time that O’Reilly explain his connections to this possible Saudi enemy of America? We’re asking him and suggest that you do, too, at oreilly@foxnews.com.

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