Franken falsely states that O’Reilly compared the Koran to Mein Kampf

Franken evidently finds it acceptable for a public institution like the University of North Carolina to require it’s entire incoming freshman class to read a book about one particular religion. To get out of reading the book, Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations, they had to write a 300-word essay justifying their refusal.

The grounds on which the school issued this unusual reading assignment are not explicitly clear, although O’Reilly did ask UNC English Professor Robert Kirkpatrick, who responded

Well, I think it’s the kind of book that after 9/11, we need to know more about.

[O’Reilly Factor, July 10, 2002]

Note that it was Kirkpatrick, not O’Reilly, who raised a connection between the Koran and 9/11. So obviously the decision to mandate the reading of it had to do with the fact that everyone who is on an Islamic jihad against the United States also happens to believe Islamic.  But why would it be so important to learn something just because we have enemies who believe it?

That is what O’Reilly wanted to know:

I want all the students in universities and colleges across the country to be as well versed as possible. But I don’t know what this serves to take a look at our enemy’s religion. See? I mean, I wouldn’t give people a book during World War II on the emperor is God in Japan, would you?

[O’Reilly Factor, July 10, 2002]

Later in the interview, O’Reilly said:

I wouldn’t read the book. And I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t have read “Mein Kampf” either. If I were going to UNC in 1941, and you, professor, said, Read “Mein Kampf,” I would have said, Hey, professor, with all due respect, shove it. I ain’t reading it.

[O’Reilly Factor, July 10, 2002]

Franken, of course, accuses O’Reilly of comparing the Koran with Mein Kampf.

As we can see, O’Reilly was not comparing the books; he was saying that he disagrees with schools assigning reading material on the basis of what our enemies believe.

O’Reilly did however proceed to compare the Koran to the Old Testament:

I’ve looked at the Koran. All right? And I have nothing against the Koran, by the way. I mean, there are some things in the Koran that are good, and there are some things that aren’t good. Same thing in the Old Testament, some things that are good, some things that aren’t good. But I’m telling you, these are our enemies now. I mean, the Islamic fundamentalism is our enemy. And I would have preferred you to have an overall global look at the Islamic world rather than the Koran. See? I think it would have been more instructive.

[O’Reilly Factor, July 10, 2002]