Fleischer continues
defense of Islam

By Les Kinsolving

Editor’s note: Each week, WorldNetDaily White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asks the tough questions no one else will ask. And each week, WorldNetDaily brings you the transcripts of those dialogues with the president and his spokesman. If you’d like to suggest a question for the White House, submit it to WorldNetDaily’s exclusive interactive forum MR. PRESIDENT!

When asked about “evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, who have made very disparaging comments about Islam,” President Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters at the White House daily news briefing today: “The president has repudiated such statements.”

Fleischer went on to say, “Sometimes people make outlandish statements hoping they can, like flypaper, draw other people down to their level and attract them into the way they see them.”

When another reporter asked a question to clarify his statement, Fleischer quickly moved on to another questioner:

QUESTION: So you’re saying Franklin and Falwell did that? They tried to lower the –

FLEISCHER (to another reporter): I’m sorry, go ahead.

QUESTION: But Franklin Graham spoke at [President Bush’s] inauguration.

FLEISCHER (to another reporter, whose question changed the subject): Go ahead.

In contrast to his willingness to denounce these leaders of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, Fleisher was unwilling to engage in any such criticism of French and Italian critics of Islam. WND asked:

WND: Michael Houellebecq, the French novelist who called Islam the most stupid religion, was acquitted in a Paris court of Muslim charges of inciting to hatred, at the same time that Oriana Falacci, the author of “Rage and The Pride,” which strongly criticizes Muslims, spoke in Washington last night despite death threats reported on page 1 of The Washington Times. And my question is, does the president condemn Houellebecq and Falacci?

FLEISCHER: Les, I’ll take a look at exactly what they said.

WND also asked Fleischer a question submitted by reader Dave Withe on the MR. PRESIDENT! forum:

WND: In connection with the president’s forthcoming trip to Mexico, since we have pressured Israel to give part of the land it conquered in several defensive wars to the Palestinians, does it follow that we will now seriously consider returning the claimed homeland in the Southwest back to Mexico? Or does the president now agree with President Fox that we should have open borders?

FLEISCHER: I’m really not sure I follow the thread that connects those various arguments.

WND: Well, I mean, if you give back all those states, that would be no problem. But in lieu of that – President Fox believes in open borders. How does the president stand on these?

FLEISCHER: Again, I think there’s no connection between the points of your question. But I would point out to you that, of course, with Israel, all the decisions that Israel made were made as a sovereign government, that Israel makes as a result of the decisions that Israel feels are in its best interest to pursue peace.


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