Smearing Islam on Caplis & Silverman, guest Schlussel claimed, "I think we need to be very vigilant of all Muslims"
Research ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
In an appearance on 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel made numerous smears of Muslims and derogatory remarks about the Islamic faith. Discussing the fatal shootings at a Salt Lake City mall committed by a Muslim from Bosnia, Schlussel warned, "[W]e need to be very vigilant of all Muslims."
While discussing the recent Salt Lake City shootings perpetrated by a Muslim refugee from Bosnia on the February 16 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel issued a number of derogatory and baseless attacks on Muslims, including the claim that "[e]ven though some [Muslims] are nice and some may seem moderate, everybody is part of a religion where the dominant spokespeople ... are extremists who support terrorism."
According to a February 14 Reuters article posted on CNN's website, "The 18-year-old gunman who shot five people to death in a Salt Lake City, Utah, shopping mall was a survivor of the siege that ended in the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Bosnia's 1992-95 war, a cousin said on Wednesday." The article further reported that "Sulejman Talovic, who was killed by police after Monday's shooting spree in which he also wounded four people, fled his village with his family during the Bosnia war to Srebrenica, a U.N.-protected enclave, Redzo Talovic said."
After co-host Craig Silverman asked Schlussel to "[t]ell us what you know about Sulejman Talovic out in the Salt Lake City shooting," she replied, "Well, I think we should all know by now that he is a Muslim ... and that he meant to kill as many people as possible." Schlussel claimed that there was "evidence of a jihad kind of motive" because, as she explained, Talovic "had all kinds of ammo in his backpack" and "killed people execution style." Referring to Talovic's Bosnian roots, Schlussel further stated, "I guess that's what we get for supporting the Muslims against the Christians [in Bosnia], which I think was a bone-headed move on the part of Bill Clinton."
Later in the broadcast, Schlussel seemed to equate Muslims with Nazis when she said, "Islam is not something you're born into -- it's a faith; it's a belief. Just like the people at Jonestown who drink Kool-Aid had a faith and a belief that wasn't such a good thing and they killed their children and made them drink it. Just like the Nazis had a belief in something and they murdered 11 million people." When Silverman asked her if she was "saying that Islam ... is equivalent of being a Nazi[?]" Schlussel responded, "Well, you know what, I don't know of any other religion that practices jihad where they murder people who are not of their faith and where they have sermons all around the world, they call Jews the sons of pigs and monkeys -- and Christians too, by the way. So if that makes people uncomfortable, you know what, they should be, and it's time to wake up!"
At the end of the interview, which was joined by guest co-host George Brauchler, Silverman asked Schlussel, "[W]hat do you suggest Americans do about this?" She replied, "I think we need to be very vigilant of all Muslims. Even though some are nice and some may seem moderate, everybody is part of a religion where the dominant spokespeople ... and the dominant imams -- are extremists who support terrorism, that is the direction of their religion, and that is the end goal, and they've openly said, they want the United States to become an Islamic nation, and I think we should believe them and take them at their word."
From the February 16 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:
SILVERMAN: You know, we have had problems similar to what happened in Salt Lake City here in the Denver area. People don't necessarily think about it, 'cause it isn't really that well publicized, but if you remember back in September a guy named Brian Allen Washington walked up to a cop who was just minding his own --
SILVERMAN: -- business on Montview near Fitzsimons and just shot him dead, and before that he was talking about being affiliated with the Nation --
BRAUCHLER: The magazine, probably.
SILVERMAN: -- and a lot of people believe -- no, it wasn't The Nation magazine, it was the Nation of Islam. George Brauchler showing his Republican colors there. And then in June of 2006, you remember that Safeway warehouse shooting, very tragic, a guy named Michael Julius Ford who had started studying the Quran, just goes in there starts shooting it up. He shot five people -- fortunately, five people didn't die, but a Denver SWAT cop was shot, and several people seriously injured, one person killed. And now this situation in Utah, and how many people know that Sulejman Talovic was a Muslim. Is there a connection?
Debbie Schlussel, our next guest, thinks so. Debbie Schlussel is known nationwide and perhaps internationally as a political commentator, radio talk show host, columnist, and attorney. She's got a lively blog that I check out all the time. I think it's fair to say she's to the right of me, but on some things I think we can all agree, and Debbie Schlussel, welcome to 630 KHOW.
SCHLUSSEL: Thank you.
SILVERMAN: Tell us what you know about Sulejman Talovic out in the Salt Lake City shooting.
SCHLUSSEL: Well, I think we should all know by now that he is a Muslim, and he -- was a Muslim from Bosnia -- and that he meant to kill as many people as possible. He had all kinds of ammo in his backpack. He killed people execution style. I think that's pretty much evidence of a jihad kind of motive. And we also know that the Salt Lake City police are bone-headed, because they're the lead investigators on this, not the FBI, even though the FBI's involved in it, and they have not seized his computer or his video games, and they're not looking at those, which is -- I don't know how you can do an investigation if you're not going to look at those things, that's absurd. I mean, if you or I so much as got arrested for just allegations of child molestation -- not killing five people and injuring seriously five more -- our computers would be taken. They would take our computers to see if we went on websites having to do with child porn, they would look at our videotapes and our video games, they would look at everything. Why are they not doing this when Americans were killed? Maybe he was working with someone, we don't know where his -- how he got the gun or the ammo, and we need to find that out, and who gave it to him or enabled him to get that. Also, we know that he has relatives that were killed in fighting between Muslims and Serbs in that area of the world. And I guess that's what we get for supporting the Muslims against the Christians, which I think was a bone-headed move on the part of Bill Clinton. In addition to that, there is a guy who has the same last name as his aunt, Omerovic -- his aunt is identified as Ajka Omerovic, and a guy with that last name from the same area of Bosnia as he is was convicted in 2002 for sending a jihadi letter to governor -- then-Governor John G. Rowland of Connecticut and threatening anthrax.
So I think that there's pretty good evidence this was a jihad. The guy is a Muslim; I don't think he's doing this just to feel good about himself. I don't think that's why he went and murdered people the night before Valentine's Day.
SILVERMAN: Debbie, a lot of people will say, well, this is racist, this is bigotry.
SCHLUSSEL: But Muslim -- but Islam is not a race.
SILVERMAN: Well, I understand, but it's a group of people, and is it any more fair to say that this guy committed this crime 'cause he's a Muslim than looking at a person who has -- I don't know, an Irish-Catholic last name --
SCHLUSSEL: Well, you know what --
SILVERMAN: -- and blame it on the church?
SCHLUSSEL: Nazis were a group of people too. And there aren't specifically necessarily Muslim last names. His last name is actually a Bosnian last name, his first name is a Muslim name. But you know what, Islam is not something you're born into -- it's a faith; it's a belief. Just like the people at Jonestown who drink Kool-Aid had a faith and a belief that wasn't such a good thing and they killed their children and made them drink it. Just like the Nazis had a belief in something and they murdered 11 million people in -- [inaudible]
SILVERMAN: This is going to make people uncomfortable --
SCHLUSSEL: Well, they should be uncomfortable!
SILVERMAN: -- saying that Islam -- Islam is equivalent of being a Nazi. Is that what you're saying?
SCHLUSSEL: Well, you know what, I don't know of any other religion that practices jihad where they murder people who are not of their faith, and where they have sermons all around the world, they call Jews the sons of pigs and monkeys -- and Christians too, by the way. So if that makes people uncomfortable, you know what, they should be, and it's time to wake up!
BRAUCHLER: Debbie -- George Brauchler here; good to talk to you. Thanks for calling in. Here's my concern with this and that is, one, I agree with you. I wanna know what this kid's motive was for committing these heinous crimes, and maybe the computer would have been the best way to find that out, and you're right. I don't know why they wouldn't seize that. But until we can make that link, my greater concern is that we say, hey, crime, bad -- committed by Muslim -- Muslim must be the answer, and we keep going.
SCHLUSSEL: Well, you know what --
BRAUCHLER: Hang on, Debbie. Hang on one sec. I'll tell you, Craig and I are both pretty intimately knowledgeable on another huge slaughter that took place here not far from us at Columbine High School, and both of those kids, [Dylan] Klebold and [Eric] Harris, they weren't affiliated with the Muslim religion.
SCHLUSSEL: OK. You know what, though, tell me this. How many -- did Dylan Klebold and -- I forgot the other guy's name -- but, did the guys at Columbine, did they talk about their religion and say I'm doing this because I'm a Muslim and I'm upset with what's happening around the world? I'll tell you something, every other Muslim except, to our knowledge, this guy -- and there are actually claims that on the video, you can hear 'Allahu Akbar' in the background -- every other Muslim who's randomly done these kinds of things -- randomly quote-unquote -- all around America has done these things in the name of their religion.
SILVERMAN: We have Debbie Schlussel, an attorney herself, on the line. If you want to check out her writings -- and it's inflammatory, just like her last segment [spells out her website address]. She's been talking about Islam, a religion that is problematic, as evidenced by what happened in Salt Lake City. Debbie, welcome back. Have to tell you, George and I were both prosecutors for a long time. We cannot understand why the Salt Lake City police --
SILVERMAN: -- would not look at the computer of this guy Sulejman Talovic, I just can't figure it out. Can you?
SCHLUSSEL: I think we have figured it out. He was a Muslim, and I don't know what other reason he would do this.
SILVERMAN: I know, but why wouldn't Salt Lake --
SCHLUSSEL: I think he hates Americans.
SILVERMAN: I understand -- I'm not willing to assign that kind of responsibility to the religion, because I think --
SCHLUSSEL: I am.
BRAUCHLER: Hey Debbie, every religion's gonna have that thing that they're not proud of.
SCHLUSSEL: No, not every religion. Not every religion.
BRAUCHLER: Well, all the major ones I can think of have something you could point to.
SCHLUSSEL: How many Christian massacres have happened in the last 10 years? Tell me one.
BRAUCHLER: Well, I'm not sure --
SCHLUSSEL: How many Jewish massacres, tell me.
BRAUCHLER: I'm not talking -- I don't know if you're talking about the Serbia-Croatian issues over in Bosnia, or if you're talking --
SCHLUSSEL: Oh, you mean where Muslims are murdering Christians. You're right, Muslims are murdering Christians. So I guess that would -- since Christians are the victims of Muslims you count that as Christian.
BRAUCHLER: No, no, no -- Debbie --
SCHLUSSEL: I don't know about that.
BRAUCHLER: -- I'm not doing that.
SCHLUSSEL: I know that Muslims are running the show there now [inaudible] the wrong side, and Christians saw that their land was being taken away from them and they were about to be killed and they were right. And we picked the wrong side on that. How many Jewish slaughters have there been? There is no religion that worldwide is killing people, beating women, doing honor killings of women, and planning terrorist attacks and succeeding at them, I'm sorry, there's no religion that --
BRAUCHLER: Hey, Debbie, I'm not --
SCHLUSSEL: -- sets off bombs in Bali --
BRAUCHLER: Debbie, I'm not defending Islam. Debbie, inhale please. I'm not defending Islam.
SCHLUSSEL: Sounds like you are.
BRAUCHLER: I'm not, I'm asking you the que -- Debbie, believe me, I'm not defending Islam. I'm asking you the que --
SCHLUSSEL: Well, you're saying all religions are like that, and they are not.
BRAUCHLER: You can twist my words how you want.
BRAUCHLER: I'm suggesting to you that, is it possible that Islam could be twisted and perverted by even a large section of it by something it was never intended to be? Or is your indictment flat-out, hey -- start to finish, la-dee-da-dee everybody, if you believe or practice Islam you are evil?
SCHLUSSEL: Islam -- there are some -- very, very, very, few, it's almost an oxymoron -- moderate Muslims. However, the dominant strain of Islam on the Sunni side is Wahhabist Islam following the great Muslim seeker Abdul Wahhab, which most Sunni Muslims respect. On the Shiite side, it's also extremists, and they all support Hezbollah with very few exceptions.
SILVERMAN: So Debbie, was --
SCHLUSSEL: Has it been perverted -- sorry, I don't think so; I think [inaudible] --
SILVERMAN: OK, so, what do we do about it?
SCHLUSSEL: -- it's being practiced the way that they -- it was intended.
SILVERMAN: What about John Allen Muhammad, the D.C. sniper, do you think Islam was motivating him?
SCHLUSSEL: I -- not only do I think it. He called his route of terror on his computer 'Allah 1'. That was in the trial. That was the testimony by the FBI analyst who went through his computer.
SILVERMAN: Why aren't these things publicized in the United States more? I see it on your website --
SCHLUSSEL: Because of political correctness, because people don't want to say, oh, an entire religion should frighten us --
SILVERMAN: So in our last --
SCHLUSSEL: -- people don't want to say that.
SILVERMAN: l know your time is tight. If you can stay, you're welcome to stay. But -- what do you suggest Americans do about this?
SCHLUSSEL: I think we need to be very vigilant of all Muslims. Even though some are nice and some may seem moderate, everybody is part of a religion where the dominant spokespeople -- CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations], MTAC, ADC [American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee] and the dominant imams -- are extremists who support terrorism, that is the direction of their religion, and that is the end goal, and they've openly said, they want the United States to become an Islamic nation, and I think we should believe them and take them at their word.
SILVERMAN: So your answer is, shine a big, bright spotlight on it.
SCHLUSSEL: That's number one; answer number two is, don't bend over backwards for them just because they're Muslims, which is what's happening. Having political sensitivity-PC training for these people. Not only that, but we are -- listen, when they're not even going through that guy's computer. And I believe that's because he's a Muslim -- they don't want to go into it, and that's it, and that's not the way things should be.
SILVERMAN: Well, I agree with you there, Debbie.