Conservative radio host Cunningham falsely referred to "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama," advanced madrassa falsehood

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

During his nationally syndicated radio talk show, Bill Cunningham repeatedly called Sen. Barack Obama, "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama," even though "Mohammed" is not a part of Obama's name, saying at one point that "it would be a shock" if "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama can be elected the president of this country in these difficult terrorist times." Cunningham also falsely claimed that Obama "was raised in madrassas in Indonesia" and falsely accused Obama's church of being "black separatist" and "black racist."

As blogger Roger Ailes noted, on the January 6 broadcast of the nationally syndicated Live on Sunday Night, It's Bill Cunningham, conservative radio talk-show host Bill Cunningham repeatedly referred to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (IL) as "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama." In fact, "Mohammed" is not a part of Obama's name. Cunningham also falsely claimed that Obama "was raised in madrassas in Indonesia" and accused Obama's church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, of being "black separatist" and "black racist." And when a caller said, "[I]n my opinion, not the opinion of this show, in my opinion, Obama is a sleeper cell because his parents are Muslim," Cunningham responded, "Only one [parent]." While Cunningham did not respond to the caller's "sleeper cell" charge, earlier in the broadcast, he had asserted that "it would be a shock" "if Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama can be elected the president of this country in these difficult terrorist times." Later, Cunningham said: "I wonder if Barack Hussein Obama understands the danger inflicted upon the world by Muslim male extremists."

As Media Matters for America documented, allegations that Obama attended a "madrassa" have been disproved by CNN, the Associated Press, and the Chicago Tribune. On January 23, 2007, CNN reported that "[a]llegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a 'madrassa' are not accurate." The AP reported on January 24, 2007, that the elementary school Obama attended as a child in Jakarta was "a public and secular institution that has been open to students of all faiths since before the White House hopeful attended in the late 1960s."

In addition, the Tribune reported that "[i]nterviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia." Furthermore, while Cunningham claimed that Obama's "father was a Muslim," Obama wrote in a Time magazine piece posted online on October 16, 2006, that "although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition." Finally, Obama's Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was described by the Tribune as "much more of a free spirit than a devout Muslim."

As Media Matters previously noted, Trinity pastor Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright specifically stated that his church's point of view does not "assume superiority, nor does it assume separatism." In addition, according to an April 2, 2007, article on the website of the University of Chicago Divinity School's The Martin Marty Center -- an institute for the advanced study of religion -- professor emeritus Martin E. Marty wrote of Trinity: "for Trinity, being 'unashamedly black' does not mean being 'anti-white.' My wife and I on occasion attend, and, like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed." The Southern Poverty Law Center, which maintains a list of "hate groups" that it characterizes as "black separatist," does not include Trinity as a black separatist group.

Among Cunningham's references to "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama":

  • "So, how 'bout a double-digit margin for Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama to become the presidential nominee of the Democrat [sic] Party, likely to become our next president."
  • "So if Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama can be elected the president of this country in these difficult terrorist times, it would be a shock, but, nonetheless, the Republicans will get what they deserve."
  • "It's amazing how Obama's getting largely a free pass from the media relative to the church that he goes to in Chicago -- and if someone's church is relevant, relative to [Republican presidential candidate Mike] Huckabee and Mormonism is relevant to [Republican candidate Mitt] Romney -- why isn't the church attended by Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama relevant to the electorate, especially when it's a black separatist movement in the city of Chicago."
  • "And I wonder if Barack Hussein Obama understands the danger inflicted upon the world by Muslim male extremists. His father was a Muslim. His mother was an atheist from Kansas. He was raised in madrassas in Indonesia. I don't blame him for that one bit. A boy doesn't have a choice when you're 7, 8, 9 years old as to what school you go to. He does have a choice not to join a black racist church in Chicago that the media refuses to cover and refuses to carry."

A search on the Nexis database showed that Cunningham has appeared on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes more than a dozen times, most recently on December 19. Media Matters noted two of Cunningham's appearances. Cunningham has also appeared on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, as recently as November 6, 2007.

From the January 6 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' Live on Sunday Night, It's Bill Cunningham:

CUNNINGHAM: Also the Drudge Report is reporting tonight that Rasmussen, in the headline, has Obama at 39 percent, and Clinton at 27. And CNN/WMUR New Hampshire has Obama at 39, and Clinton at 29. So, how 'bout a double-digit margin for Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama to become the presidential nominee of the Democrat [sic] Party, likely to become our next president. I cannot conceive yet of how a Republican can win this thing, about a year -- what -- 11 months from now, based upon the lack of passion, and the lack of desire, and the lack of money in the Republican Party in relationship to the Democrats. Plus, by every historical model, it is time for the Democrats to seize the presidency.

So, if Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama can be elected the president of this country in these difficult terrorist times, it would be a shock, but, nonetheless, the Republicans will get what they deserve.

In my opinion -- I was recently in Florida speaking to a few buddies of mine and some listeners, Paul Robertson and Bruce Roddy, relative to views on immigration and related matters -- and I think most would agree that, with the Republican base, there's probably nothing more cogent, more fungent, more important than immigration and amnesty and things of that character. As we deal with all the smoke and the mirrors, every now and then, it's good to talk about an issue. And by the way for those who want to get in early, I want to see who you think won the debate this evening, live on Fox, just concluded. Who lost? Who won? And whether you think this country is ready for Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama to be the Democratic nominee.

Our telephone number every Sunday night is 1-800 -- I said 1-800-843-2441.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: All right, let's talk about a couple of your other good friends, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama. First, what about Hillary? What grade does she get, if any?

ROY BECK (NumbersUSA executive director): Well, we -- there's the 16 grades, but both of them are actually -- they come out just above abysmal.

[...]

BECK: We are the largest online lobbying group. We have over half a million activist members and we've stopped four amnesties so far this year. I mean, I should say we, along, as you say, with talk radio and it -- you know -- it totally shocked the pundits because all of the establishment was for opening the borders.

CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, well --

BECK: And talk radio and the Internet are the only things that stood -- that saved the country.

CUNNINGHAM: What's to help us if the three stooges, that being -- the president being Barack Hussein Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidency -- along with [House Speaker] Nancy [Pelosi (D-CA)] and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry [Reid (D-NV)]. At what point -- how do you stop them?

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: It's fascinating. It's fascinating to me, and this is mentioned on the Drudge Report on the front page -- how the news media and others are covering Barack Hussein Obama and not holding him to the same levels of scrutiny that you find with many of the scrutinies put upon the Republican candidates. It's amazing how Obama's getting largely a free pass from the media relative to the church that he goes to in Chicago -- and if someone's church is relevant, relative to Huckabee and Mormonism is relevant to Romney -- why isn't the church attended by Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama relevant to the electorate, especially when it's a black separatist movement in the city of Chicago. But the media's not covering it.

If you have time, Google Barack Hussein Obama's minister, reverend. Google that and see what happens. It's amazing how the media ignores the black racist church that Obama goes to in Chicago when they want to give such religious coverage to the Mormons and to the evangelicals, which is a dirty word among the national media.

[...]

CALLER: I hear you, but answer this: How could he sign -- the president signed on TV for that bridge -- that wall to be built, 820 feet. And --

CUNNINGHAM: Well, he doesn't want it built. He does not --

CALLER: But he signed the law. He signed the law.

CUNNINGHAM: I know, but the Democrats won't fund it. And the president doesn't want it.

CALLER: The money's there.

CUNNINGHAM: The money's there but it won't be spent. And do you think Barack Hussein Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to continue that wall if they get elected in about 10 months?

CALLER: Well, I tell you what. I got one thing to say. If any one of those Democrats gets voted in, the thing I gotta say is the American people got to blame only but themselves. They know what's going on.

CUNNINGHAM: You -- you know, Dave, we get the government we deserve.

CALLER: That's right.

CUNNINGHAM: We deserve Jimmy Carter, so we got him.

CALLER: Right. That's right.

CUNNINGHAM: And if we deserve Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama, we deserve him because the Republicans have demonstrated for the last seven years that they're a bunch of babbling incompetents --

CALLER: Right.

CUNNINGHAM: -- that can't handle the deficit, can't handle the aftermath of the great military victory in Iraq. They were bubbling fools and idiots and the Republicans do not deserve election, but the problem is, neither do the Democrats.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: Well, do you think that a Democratic president named Obama or Clinton would sic the Justice Department on illegal alien voting?

CALLER: No, I don't -- no, I --

CUNNINGHAM: No. No.

CALLER: No. Obama -- in my opinion -- in my opinion, not the opinion of this show, in my opinion, Obama is a sleeper cell because his parents are Muslim and -- and his --

CUNNINGHAM: Only one.

CALLER: You know, so that's my opinion. But anyways, it's an organized criminal act. If you -- if you deliberately file a document -- a federal document -- with a lie on it, that's a felony.

CUNNINGHAM: Well, I agree with you, Frank, but how many prosecutions have taken place in the Bush attorney general's Justice Department on that issue? The answer is none. And the Democrats would have less than none.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: Muslim male extremists have committed massive crimes all over the globe -- not Muslim men. Muslim men in America are among the most patriotic, especially those living around Dearborn. Muslim male extremists -- extremists -- underline the word "extremists" have caused all these problems from Tanzania to the World Trade Center, all over Israel, pizza parlors. They've caused problems with the U.S. Cole. They've killed Americans in Germany. They've killed every human being they can find in Spain, in Indonesia, and Bali. Muslim male extremists is the problem, not Muslim males. It is Muslim male extremists.

And I wonder if Barack Hussein Obama understands the danger inflicted upon the world by Muslim male extremists. His father was a Muslim. His mother was an atheist from Kansas. He was raised in madrassas in Indonesia. I don't blame him for that one bit. A boy doesn't have a choice when you're 7, 8, 9 years old as to what school you go to.

He does have a choice not to join a black racist church in Chicago that the media refuses to cover and refuses to carry. Look it up. Google it. Put in Barack Hussein Obama's minister, his preacher, and see what you find.

[...]

CUNNINGHAM: Let's continue now with Lee in Atlantic City. Lee, welcome to the Bill Cunningham show.

CALLER: And you are now formally crowned Kid Courageous. I think you are very courageous. I love your program, and I want to thank you for calling Mohammed Hussein at Obama. You know what --

CUNNINGHAM: You mean Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama?

CALLER: Well, I'm calling him Mohammed Hussein to keep in mind he may --

CUNNINGHAM: Well, you know, if you look on the front page of the Drudge Report tonight, there is a story about Barack on Newsweek and the picture looks like it's Jesus Christ entering Nazareth. He looks a messianic character and the story says, "Our time for change has come."

Can you imagine a story about Dick Cheney that would say, "Our time for change has come?" Dick Cheney -- I mean, the coverage of Barack Obama makes him -- looks like -- he looks like the messiah.

CALLER: OK, well, I've got a good one for you.

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Bill Cunningham
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