Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

What's Next? Badges with Yellow Crescents?

Reported by Marie Therese - August 21, 2006 -

On Saturday August 19th David Asman opened the Forbes on FOX show with another of his inflammatory questions and it was downhill from then on. During the first segment - a discussion of special scrutiny for Muslims - I wondered how we have gotten to the point in this country where highly placed, wealthy and cosmopolitan men are permitted to spew racist claptrap on a national cable channel.

Forbes on FOX is supposed to be about money and the markets! Instead, last Saturday it sank to a new low, pandering to a fearful subculture of hate that exists in America. By the end of the segment, I fully expected Forbes bigwigs Jim Michaels and Rich Karlgaard to jump on a soapbox and shout that we need to force each and every Muslim to wear a badge emblazoned with a yellow crescent and star.

That's my take. Read the transcript and then tell me what you think. (Throughout the discussion below on the right side of a split screen FOX News aired video clips of Muslims walking in the streets of an unidentified American city, praying in mosques, speaking on cell phones, etc. FOX News visually implied that "they" are already here and "they" dress funny and "they" are strange because "they" pray to a wall and some of "them", who pray to walls, dress and act just like "real" Americans. Frequently, the subliminal messages on FOX are more insidious than the words spoken. Half way through the interview, FOX subtly switched the images to an unidentified North African city - possibly in Saudi Arabia - complete with live chickens in an outdoor marketplace, white-robed men and black-clad women.)

DAVID ASMAN: Should we single out Muslim immigrants for special scrutiny to protect Americans and our markets? Let's go in focus and find out with Jim Michaels, Leo Goldman and Rich Karlgaard along with Quentin Hardy and Mike Ozanian. Jim, first to you. Single out the Muslims?

JIM MICHAELS, Editorial Vice President, Forbes Magazine : Yep. I apologize to my Muslim friends, many of whom are better Americans than I am, but the fact is Muslim society throughout the world is infected with Islamofascism. We do not want to import it here. They've imported it into Britain and they found out that 30% of the British Muslims approved of the London bombings. Now, some of the British Muslims are saying they want to become citizens without pledging allegiance to the British government. They want Sharia law to be practiced in Britain. We don't want that to happen here.

ASMAN: Alright.

MICHAELS: We've gotta put tougher standards on Muslim immigrants.

ASMAN: Quentin, Learn from London. We don't want that to happen here.

QUENTIN HARDY, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, Forbes Magazine: Well, for starts, there is no finer American than Jim Michaels but he's wrong on this one. Let's just go through the mechanics of it. I mean, we're now going to have visas from every country in the world and on those visas you're gonna check a box stating what your religion is? Many, many people seem to forget that this war is fought in the media as well. How are we going look if we start talking about profiles? "Oh, we're going to profile on religion and the Muslims we all check twice"? We'll make enemies [in] far greater numbers than anything we could possibly do otherwise.

ASMAN (overtalks last 4 words) : Alright. Rich, what do you think about this?

RICH KARLGAARD: Well, I reluctantly agree with Jim. Look, the Muslim religion is just antithetical to the values that we hold dear in the United States. We are a country that is founded on this peculiar and very wonderful mix of a belief in god and a belief in enlightenment also. And, as Jim says, this is just incompatible with too many people in the Muslim community and as for the moderate Muslims that Jim talks about as his friends, there are many of them, but they are not stepping up here. This has been a great disappointment.

ASMAN: So, Mike, until the moderate Muslims step up, we've got to single them out?

MIKE OZANIAN, Senior Editor, Forbes Magazine: I think what Jim and Rich are talking about, David, just will not work. Look. The Pan Am plane that blew up - it was a bomb carried on by a small white girl in a boom box. By the time they get to this country, it's too late. We have to fight this war on terror using an intelligence and information-gathering long before people even try to get on the plane.

ASMAN: Well, Lea, last week you were pretty hard line against Hezbollah. What do you think about this one?

LEA GOLDMAN, Associate Editor, Forbes: Well, I think it's impractical, impossible and morally wrong. What you're advocating is basically a system of discrimination, a legalized system of discrimination in this country that does nothing for our status abroad. It does nothing to - we're talking about exporting democracy but at the same time we're saying "but we want nothing to do with you here." I think it's impossible to implement and, practically, a wrong thing.

ASMAN: Impossible to implement and morally wrong, Jim.

MICHAELS: Every country has the right to decide what they want the make-up of their society to be. And I don't think we want the make-up of our society ...

GOLDMAN (interrupting): So long as they're not too religious.

MICHAELS: ... to have a lot of people ...

GOLDMAN: So long as they're not too religious.

MICHAELS: Let me finish.

KARLGAARD (off screen): OK.

MICHAELS: We don't want a big group of people in this country who are basically disloyal by the very nature of their beliefs.

GOLDMAN: That's a pretty sweeping accusation

ASMAN: Hold on. Quentin, you want to jump in? Go ahead.

HARDY: They are disloyal by virtue of their religion? What does this country stand for anymore? That makes no sense. And by the way let's consider the second largest terrorist act in the history of America - Tim McVeigh - he was not a Moslem. This is about establishing means to catch networks of terrorists.

DAVID ASMAN (interrupting): Well. Hold on for a second, though.

HARDY: This is not [indecipherable] or not.

ASMAN: Lea, Lea, what about this disloyalty factor? In some cases Sharia law - which Jim had mentioned - that's the strict Muslim law takes precedence over - in some community (sic) - above U. S. law?

GOLDMAN: Unfortunately, that's true. And that's the kind of thing ...

ASMAN (interrupting): Do we kick those people out if, for example, they, they, they slit the throats of their daughters for sleeping around?

GOLDMAN: We deport people who commit crimes here. If they are Muslim and they sell drugs, they're out. If they're Muslim and they cannot accept local governance, they're out.

(The issue of religious "loyalty" is not new. I remember in the 1960 election, John F, Kennedy faced numerous questions about his loyalty to the Pope versus his loyalty to the laws of the country, the issue being fear that the Pope was going to tell him what to do. The Mormons were marginalized for years because they wished to practice polygamy despite the "law of the land." Other religions that have experienced difficulty with the larger American society include the Amish, Orthodox Jews, Santeria, Bahai, Wiccans, etc. Our society has managed to adjust to each of these belief systems.)

ASMAN: What about that, Mike?

OZANIAN: That's right. I mean, Lea's exactly right. If you slit someone's throat, doesn't matter who you are. There's a very famous basketball player that wouldn't stand up during games - before the game - for the national anthem because he was against the war in Iraq. Do we throw him out? No. Of course not. There has to be a single standard of whether or not you abide by the law, not - regardless of where you're from.

ASMAN: Rich Karlgaard, go ahead.

KARLGAARD: Look. You know, I return to this idea that the United States is formed on ideas. Not on ethnicity. Not on religion. But in a belief - in the beliefs that are expressed in the Constitution and, if a particular religion is absolutely antithetical to this, then I think it has to be scrutinized to a greater degree.

ASMAN: Quentin?

HARDY: We longer have freedom of religion in this country, if we do this.

ASMAN: But, Quentin, what happens if certain religious practices trump U. S. law?

HARDY: I don't know of a religious practice that says "blow up the airplane". That's criminal behavior.

ASMAN (overtalking last 4 words): There are religious practices that are so bad that in Australia, for example, they are kicking out some Muslims for practicing a very strict Sharia code.

(Five different Google searches have not netted any story about Australia deporting Muslims for "practicing a very strict Sharia code." There are many stories about Australia DEBATING or CONSIDERING or ARGUING ABOUT tightening their immigration laws. Additionally, there are lots of articles detailing that Prime Minister John Howard and his Treasurer Peter Costello have made inflammatory remarks demanding deportation for Muslim clerics who espouse a belief that Sharia law should be established in Australia. If any of our Australian readers can come up with a post that verifies precisely what Asman said, please let me know and I'll post a link to it.)

HARDY: They know they are going against that nation's laws. They know they are running the penalty if they are picked up. That is the rule of law.

JIM MICHAELS: But they're not a critical mass in this country yet. They've become a critical mass in Britain and Europe which is one reason Britain and Europe have not been able to stand up to Islamofascism. We've got to make sure that people [who] come here are capable of becoming American citizens and accepting the basic tenets of what American stands for.

ASMAN: Lea, is it OK, is it OK to do a little bit of profiling ...

HARDY (off camera): Jim, it was the British police who stopped this attack!

ASMAN: ... that is, is it OK to profile immigrants, some Muslim immigrants, in order to track terrorists?

GOLDMAN: That's a practical measure that can be implemented while keeping the borders open. There's no reason you have to close the doors to America. You can have a more onerous immigration policy. You can have greater accountability and still have immigrants coming in.

ASMAN: Do you agree?

OZANIAN: The best deterrent is character profiling, not race or ethnicity profiling.

ASMAN: Go ahead, Quentin.

HARDY: It was the British police who stopped this attack, something our system was unable to do on 9-11. The fact of the matter is, the European governments are aware of the problem and they are acting pretty well. Yes, they have more Moslems than we do. They are also very efficiently good police operations.

ASMAN (overtalking last 6 words): But Quentin, didn't things change - Quentin, didn't things change dramatically after 9-11? We had to look over the way we were doing things to make sure we don't get another 9-11?

HARDY: I think the British were on to it many years ago with the IRA. What happened on 9-11 was America woke up to the rest of the world. Terror is a political tool in this time of ours. It has nothing to do with a religion.

ASMAN: Of course ...

HARDY: The IRA did terror. The PLO did terror ...

ASMAN: Of course ...

HARDY: ... Al Qaeda does terror.

ASMAN: Lea, we didn't have a repeat of 9-11. The British did have another plot that was foiled, thank goodness, after 7-7.

GOLDMAN: It's not because we kicked out Muslims. It's not because we have no Muslims in this country. I mean, it happened.

MICHAELS: But who were they? They were British citizens, most of them. They were second generation. They were people who brought the infection with them.

ASMAN: Yeah.

MICHAELS: And they're spreading it in Britain. We cannot ...

ASMAN: Of course, they don't assimilate as well as the Muslims assimilate there but that's a source of another discussion. We don't have time today.

jimmichaels.gif karlgaard-1.jpg QuentingHardy-1.jpg lgoldman.gif images-1.jpg d%20asman.jpg
L to R: Jim Michaels, Rich Karlgaard, Quentin Hardy, Lea Goldman, Mike Ozanian, David Asman