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Friday, November 19, 2004

Imus Targeted By CAIR

Palestinians Called 'Filthy Animals' on MSNBC's 'Imus'; CAIR Calls For Apology, Says Unchallenged Remarks Promote Hate. (Via LGF)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for an apology from the MSNBC cable television network over comments on its "Imus in the Morning" program that referred to Palestinians as "filthy animals" and suggested that they all be killed.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also urged that the program's host, Don Imus, be reprimanded for failing to challenge his colleagues' inflammatory remarks. CAIR, which says it received numerous complaints about the comments, quoted a transcript of Imus' November 12th program in which he and his on-air colleagues engaged in the following discussion about live coverage of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's funeral:

DON IMUS: They're (the Palestinians) eating dirt and that fat pig wife of his is living in Paris.

COLLEAGUE: They're all brainwashed, though. That's what it is. And they're stupid, to begin with, but they're brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill 'em all right now...

IMUS: Well, the problem is we have (reporter) Andrea (Mitchell) there; we don't want anything to happen to her.

COLLEAGUE: Oh, she's got to get out. Andrea, get out and then drop the bomb and kill everybody...

COLLEAGUE: Look at this. Animals. Animals!

In a letter to MSNBC President Neal Shapiro, CAIR stated: "We are firm defenders of the First Amendment, but these hate-filled and racist remarks can only serve to legitimize anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry in our society and could lead to further discrimination against members of the Islamic and Arab-American communities." (CAIR also filed a complaint with the FCC because "Imus in the Morning" is a nationally-syndicated radio program.)

This is not the first time Imus has been involved in a controversy over anti-Arab and Islamophobic remarks. As early as 1985, he was forced to apologize for referring to Arabs as "goat- humping weasels." (Sunday Mail, 4/21/85) He has also been criticized for using the derogatory term "raghead." (Accuracy in Media) In a reference to the crash of an Iranian airliner earlier this year that killed 43 passengers, Imus said, "When I hear stories like that, I think who cares." He then stated: "Too bad it wasn't full of Saudi Arabians." (National Iranian American Council)

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