CBS’s "Sunday Morning" claimed the rights of Muslims in America have been trampeled since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "Sunday Morning" ran a story narrated by Elizabeth Kaledin, a reporter who normally discusses health issues, that featured three Muslims complaining about American policy since 9/11 and offered no voices of Muslims who disagree. One of the three, Mohammed el Filali claimed:
"There is liberty and justice for all, except if you're Muslim."
Kaledin did not challenge the assertions, instead she facilitated them. For instance, she stated:
"Mohammed Unis, an American citizen for 40 years, was also stopped at an airport, returning from a business trip in Thailand. Would you say that you have lost certain liberties in this country that you had before?"
When Unis replied "without question" to the notion that he has lost liberties, Kaledin could have followed up asking him to cite examples, instead her report continued on. Kaledin later notes a question posed by Mr. El Filali regarding what he claims to be a double standard:
"He asks, did the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh lead to discrimination against all Christians?"
According to an article in "Human Events" on May 6, 2002, Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian, and thus the Oklahoma City bombing was not an act of Christian terrorism. Yet, there is no doubt of the beliefs of the 19 men who hijacked planes and flew them into buildings on 9/11 nor is there any question of their motivations.
For CBS to run this piece a day before the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is bad taste, but the nature of the story is further compounded by the fact that CBS did not cite specific examples of rights being trampled, other than people being stopped at airports. Had CBS done it’s research I’m sure they could have found many non-Muslims who have faced the same treatment.
A full transcript of the piece follows:
Elizabeth Kaledin: "On the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, the fifth anniversary of September 11th provokes complicated feelings; mourning for the past, combined with fear about what the past has spawned."
Mohammed el-Filali: "A person's name is Mohammed, it's a crime by itself."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "He knows. His name is Mohammed el-Filali, a leader of the local mosque."
Mohammed el-Filali: "There is liberty and justice for all, except if you're Muslim."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "It's not the Middle East, but it is one of the largest Muslim-American communities in the United States. And five years after 9/11, some people here say they still feel targeted--not by terrorists, but by the American government."
Dina Fami: "Told us to go to a customs agent down the hall."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "Just last month, Dina Fami was stopped at Kennedy Airport after a flight from Jordan with her four young children."
Dina Fami: "They didn't say anything. They didn't say OK, you're going to be detained for awhile, this, that, nothing."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "She says she was detained for five hours and given no reason for not being allowed into the country, her country."
Dina Fami: "Here I am, a US citizen, I'm a Jersey girl, born and raised here, hamburgers, hot dogs, and I'm being treated like I'm a second-class citizen."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "Mohammed Unis, an American citizen for 40 years, was also stopped at an airport, returning from a business trip in Thailand. Would you say that you have lost certain liberties in this country that you had before?"
Mohammed Unis: "Without a question, without a question."
Dina Fami: "I felt like I was nothing, just because I have this on."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "The fact is, four of the 19 terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks lived for a short time in Paterson, New Jersey. But Mohammed el-Filali says that's no reason to target his people."
Mohammed el-Filali: "I spent over half of my life in the United States. This is home."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "He asks, did the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh lead to discrimination against all Christians?"
Mohammed el-Filali: "I mean, are there, like, radical elements within the Christian community? Yeah, there are. Are they searched equally? No. Are they equally scrutinized as the Muslims? No."
Elizabeth Kaledin: "So five years after 9/11, these devout people are having a crisis of faith--faith in their own country."
Mohammed Unis: "The kids ask us, what's wrong with us? What would we--what did we do? The kids. What did we do wrong? Why we being treated like this? It's just not right."