The “Draw the Prophet” event organizer Pamela Geller has been taking a lot of heat from left-wing commentators in recent days. But the latest media figure to attack Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative which sponsored the controversial contest is none other than conservative icon Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News.
In his "Talking Points Commentary" delivered on Thursday night, O’Reilly said:
O'REILLY: The incident was ignited by a contest featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Any depiction of that Islamic icon is a sin in the Muslim world. Many Americans believe the provocation was legitimate under freedom of speech, but that was not the issue. No one I know believes in curtailing speech in this case. The real issue was whether the exposition was the right thing to do.
The Fox News host then cut to a clip of the Rev. Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and son of the Rev. Billy Graham, who described the Garland event as at odds with "civility":
GRAHAM: As a Christian, I don’t like it when people mock my lord and savior Jesus Christ and what this event in Garland, Texas was doing was mocking the Muslims. I’m discouraged that people would do this…I agree that the folks in Garland, Texas was wrong.
O’Reilly followed up Graham’s statement by concluding:
O'REILLY: Rev. Graham reflects the Christian point of view that you don't demean other people unnecessarily. Jesus would not have sponsored that event.
Further clarifying his reasoning for opposing the Garland event, O’Reilly explained:
O'REILLY: The goal of every decent person in the world should be to defeat the Jihad and in order to do that you have to rally the world to the side of good, our side. Emotional displays like insulting the Prophet Mohammed make it more difficult to rally law abiding Muslims… In any war you have to win hearts and minds, and the situation in Garland, Texas goes against that.