The Washington Post's Dana Milbank said the discussion took an "ugly" turn when a panelist compared Muslims to Nazis and referred to peaceful Muslims as "irrelevant."
The conservative panel was discussing the attack on the American embassy when Saba Ahmed, a student at the Washington College of Law at American University, spoke out against the criticism of Islam.
"We portray all Muslims and Islam as bad but there is 1.8 billion Muslim followers of Islam. We have 8 million plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don't see them represented here. But my question is how can we fight an ideological war with weapons? How can we ever end this war? The jihadist ideology that you talk about -- it's an ideology. How can you ever win this thing if you don't address this ideologically?"
Panelist Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian by birth, fired back.
"When you are looking at 15 to 25 percent of the Muslim population, you are looking at 180 million to 300 million dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization," said Gabriel. "Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died."
Chris Plante, the panel's moderator, followed up by asking, "Can you tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?"
Ahmed answered, "I guess it's me right now."
Since Milbank wrote about the panel discussion, the Heritage Foundation has been defending the event on their Twitter.
Heritage encourages open debate and wants everyone on our premises to feel welcome and treated with respect.— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) June 17, 2014