Fox News host Bill O'Reilly boosted his idea that the U.S. is in a holy war against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), demanding the Obama administration "take the holy war seriously" and urging American clerics to lead the fight.
After the Islamic State's beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, O'Reilly claimed that "the holy war is here" on the February 17 edition of his show. O'Reilly later called on "all Christians, Jews, and secularists who love their country" to call the White House and "say enough."
On the February 18 edition of his show, O'Reilly again claimed it is "appropriate to define the worldwide conflict between Muslim fanatics and nearly everybody else" as a "holy war" and demanded President Obama "take the holy war seriously." O'Reilly asserted that the West must come together to eliminate the Islamic State, adding that "if the politicians won't do it, the clergy must lead the way."
Counterterrorism expert Phillip Mudd, who served in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, pointed out on CNN that Obama was right to not feed into the Islamic State's wishes by saying the U.S. is at war with Islam. Mudd asserted that the terrorist group actually hates "to be referred to as murderers" because "they want to create a war between Islam and Christianity. So anything we can do to avoid feeding their narrative ... is a positive." And as MSNBC's Chris Hayes explained in response to O'Reilly, calling the fight against the Islamic State a "holy war" runs the risk of legitimizing the terrorist group: