American Senator John McCain Wednesday defended the use of Islam’s phrase “Allah Akbar” by Syrian rebels, in response to comments by Fox News TV host Brian Kilmeade.
McCain, seemingly annoyed by the host’s sarcastic tone, explained the meaning of the phrase, which translates to “God is Great.”
Reassuring Kilmeade that some of the Syrian groups who use the term are moderates, the senator said that he knows them and has been in contact with them.
“Would you have a problem with an American person saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?’” McCain said.
“That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”
The host asked McCain if Salim Idriss, the head of the opposition Free Syrian Army’s military command, who had met with the senator, was an extremist.
Reasserting his claim that members of the Syrian opposition are extremists, Kilmeade went on to show a video of Syrian rebels firing a fighter jet then shouting “Allah Akbar.”
“I have a problem helping those people screaming that after a hit,” he told McCain.
The host is now infamous for saying “not every terrorist is Muslim, but all Muslims are terrorists,” in 2010.
McCain has been offering support to President Barack Obama’s attempt to strike Syria, supporting the Syrian opposition against President Bashar al-Assad, after meeting him on Tuesday at the White House.
“A vote against that resolution by Congress I think would be catastrophic,” he said.