On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade, who previously falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "[e]vidently ... went to a madrassa" as a child, asked his guest: "[D]o you find it insulting at all when Barack Obama goes out of his way to say, 'Hey, I am not a Muslim. I'm a Christian, and let's stop these spread' [sic] as if being a Muslim is bad?"
During the June 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade, who had previously falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "[e]vidently ... went to a madrassa" as a child, asked guest Mohamed Elibiary: "[D]o you find it insulting at all when Barack Obama goes out of his way to say, 'Hey, I am not a Muslim. I'm a Christian, and let's stop these spread' [sic] as if being a Muslim is bad?" He subsequently asked his other guest, Shayan Farooqi: "[W]hen you hear Barack Obama come out and say, 'These are rumors about me being a Muslim. I'm not,' and make that effort, does that turn off for you?"
On the January 19, 2007, editions of Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends, Kilmeade, along with co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, spent several segments advancing a false report that Obama was raised a Muslim and attended a madrassa, or Islamic school, as a child in Indonesia. At one point, Doocy asked: “When people find out this stuff, they're going to go, 'Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised as -- spent the first decade of his life raised by his Muslim father as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?' ” Kilmeade responded, “Yeah, is that a problem?” He added: “Evidently, when he was a little kid, he went over to Indonesia and went to a madrassa. He -- in his two best-selling books, he doesn't really mention this in detail.”
Later, Kilmeade did not challenge a caller's assertion that Obama being raised a Muslim “could possibly give him ... better insight on the enemy, [because] maybe he doesn't consider terrorists the enemy,” but rather, said to the caller: “Well, we'll see about that.” Later that same day on Fox & Friends, Doocy said of the false madrassa story: “This is huge.” Kilmeade replied: “It's big about his background. It's also interesting. He had two best-selling biographies. It did not come up -- was not directly addressed.”
On the January 22, 2007, edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts “clarif[ied]” their previous reporting on the madrassa story. During that segment, Doocy said: “Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous,” as Media Matters for America documented. Kilmeade stated that the Obama camp “wanted to make it clear they had nothing to do -- he had nothing to do with going to any radical Islamic school, and he was very angry about it.”
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: Mohamed, do you find it insulting at all when Barack Obama goes out of his way to say, “Hey, I am not a Muslim. I'm a Christian, and let's stop these spread” as if being a Muslim is bad.
ELIBIARY: Well, of course, I've had issues just like every other Muslim with the way he's framed that. I think that this is actually part of a bigger problem or challenge that Obama has, which is his image. He tries to craft it really, really tightly, while when we compare him to McCain -- you might remember a controversy a few months back where Mitt Romney was asked if he would appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet, and his response was, “There aren't enough Muslims to warrant such a position,” but McCain's response when he was asked was, “Look, I'm going to appoint the best American that's qualified for the position.” I'm like, what else can I really ask for?
KILMEADE: That's who -- Shayan, you've heard some of these things. I mean, when you hear Barack Obama come out and say, “These are rumors about me being Muslim. I'm not,” and make that effort, does that turn off for you?
SHAYAN FAROOQI: Not necessarily, because he, in fact, is not Muslim. But I feel that, as a candidate, he's laid the groundwork down for all of us with our individual faiths to take whatever positive we can and contribute to the plurality of the American landscape.
From the January 19, 2007, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:
DOOCY: When people find out this stuff, they're going to go, “Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised as -- spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father -- as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?”
KILMEADE: Yeah, is that a problem? Evidently, when he was a little kid, he went over to Indonesia and went to a madrassa. He -- in his two best-selling books, he doesn't really mention this in detail, says, you know, I went to -- mostly raised secular but went to a Muslim school, went to a Catholic school, and then a little bit later on, he would become a Christian, almost like a born-again Christian. But Barack Obama had a father born in Kenya who was a Muslim.
DOOCY: Is it ancient history or do you think madrassa matters? Josh joins us from Colorado. Good morning to you, Josh.
CALLER: What's up?
DOOCY: What do you think?
CALLER: I think that, ultimately, this will probably be one of the main reasons he's not elected.
DOOCY: Just the fact that his father was a Muslim, he was raised as a Muslim for awhile, and went to a madrassa school in Jakarta?
CALLER: Right. I mean, where -- you'd think that could possibly give him, you know, better insight on the enemy, maybe he doesn't really consider terrorists the enemy.
DOOCY: All right, Josh.
KILMEADE: Well, we'll see about that. Yeah, Josh says that. Larry from Tennessee, where do you weigh in?
CALLER: Hi, good morning. Yes, I think it does matter. The fact that he omitted it must mean that he feels that somebody is going to have an opinion, and President Bush certainly comes under scrutiny, so why shouldn't he?
KILMEADE: Well, he didn't admit it. I mean, that's the issue is that --
CARLSON: Well, she said he didn't.
KILMEADE: Yeah, says he didn't come out, and say, look, I was -- was over in Indonesia for five years was -- or roughly five years, went to a madrassa. And there is some reports that Wahhabism was the curriculum there --
KILMEADE: -- which is a problem because they start with “We hate America” and work their way back from there.
DOOCY: Well, the way it was framed in one of his biographies, he said quote, “I was sent first,” this is in Indonesia, “to a Catholic school and then to a predominantly Muslim school.” He doesn't say, “I went to a madrassa, where they taught Wahhabism.” He simply says, “I went to a predominantly Muslim school.”
From the January 19, 2007, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: And in today's Insight Magazine, which is a publication of The Washington Times, they talk about how Barack Obama, raised as a Muslim by his stepfather, also who was a Muslim, eventually an atheist, in Jakarta, Indonesia. And, you know, what have we heard about -- coming out of the madrassa schools over in Indonesia? This is huge.
KILMEADE: It's big about his background. It's also interesting. He had two best-selling biographies. It did not come up -- was not directly addressed. He also -- they also found out that some of the characters in his biographies are composite characters, which he did not say up front. And if you think that Barack Obama is under some scrutiny now, just picture what's going to be happening if he continues to lead over in Iowa and in New Hampshire, like he's doing in two of the polls.