Near the top of Tuesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan fretted over American Muslims being harassed in the wake of the failed Times Square bombing: "how do you deal with these types of crimes without resulting in racism, effectively, towards people of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent?...is there not a natural backlash to this?" [Audio available here]
Ratigan asked that of Sofian Zakkout, the director of the American Muslim Association of North America, who replied: "We should calm down, it's – thank God nobody got hurt. We all know – and also I spoke today, this morning, with CAIR and other Islamic organizations....we denounce what was going to happen." Zakkout's organization has had links to questionable Islamic organizations on its website and has voiced support for the terrorist organization Hamas.
Ratigan seemed to be following the lead of his MSNBC colleague Contessa Brewer, who appeared on Tuesday's Stephanie Miller radio show and lamented the ethnicity of the would-be bomber: "I get frustrated...There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country."
Here is a transcript of Ratigan's exchange with Zakkout:
DYLAN RATIGAN: Sofian Zakkout is the director of the American Muslim Association of North America. Sofian, welcome to the conversation. How do you – how do you deal with these types of crimes without resulting in racism, effectively, towards people of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent?
SOFIAN ZAKKOUT: You know, how I – how I deal with that?
RATIGAN: How do you suggest it be dealt with? In other words, is there not a natural backlash to this? That variable?
ZAKKOUT: Yes, yes, yes. We should calm down, it's – thank God nobody got hurt. We all know – and also I spoke today, this morning, with CAIR and other Islamic organizations of Florida. We all understand, we denounce what was going to happen. Thank God there is nobody got hurt. Thank God the authority was open-eyed and took the car away from the people – from the surrounding population.
And we have to wait to see exactly the motives of – of this kind of act, terrorist act that was going to happen on our soil. We have to know who's behind it. What's the reasons. Then, you know, we all should also listen to all Muslim leaders around the nation.
Because it's very important to send a message from the Muslim leaders, around the nation. From California, New York, Miami, Washington, Chicago, that we – to show that we all – we've been denouncing all acts of terrorism and to condemn it strongly to send a message to the Muslims and to the non-Muslims all around the world that we are working closely with our authorities in prevention. And to try to stop any future – may Allah forbid – any future terrorist acts or terrorist activities.
As a matter of fact, we just came from Haiti, we put our life in danger for non-Muslims. We went to Haiti. We went to Katrina, we've been working to save lives. And we are against any, any terrorist attacks from any places in our soil or any Americans here or abroad. As clear as it sounds.