- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bestselling author Mark Steyn recently returned from a trip to Europe and told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that Islamic terrorism has fundamentally changed the continent.

Mr. Steyn traveled to France and attended the funeral of Father Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old Catholic priest who was killed in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in August while celebrating Mass. The author and political commentator said the hundreds of terror-related deaths in France since 2015 have turned the nation into a de facto police state.

“I mean, there are soldiers everywhere in France now,” the author told Mr. O’Reilly. “Outside of schools, shopping centers, railway stations. I was on the beach at Saint-Tropez where the topless women have armed soldiers with automatic weapons — patrolling between the topless women. It’s a sad sight and it’s an absurd sight. Ultimately, it’s no solution.”

The two men then went on to discuss the “fake outrage” that occurred over the weekend when Donald Trump quickly called explosions in New York City the result of a bombing. The Republican presidential candidate’s claim was ultimately verified, and 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested Monday in connection with pressure-cooker bombings in both New York and New Jersey.

One police officer was shot while trying to apprehend the suspect and 29 others were injured during a blast Saturday night in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.

“That [outrage at Trump] is an attempt to shrivel the public discourse and prevent a diversity of views on Islam and immigration and terrorism. And if you notice, that’s the classic left response now,” said Mr. Steyn. “Let’s not debate your point of view, let’s cancel your point of view. I think Trump in the last year has actually managed to expand the public conversation.”

Mr. O’Reilly agreed, saying we are living in a “totalitarian social environment right now.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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