CA Muslims Seek Reprimand For Radio Host Who Mocked Hajj Deaths

CA Muslims Seek Reprimand For Radio Host Who Mocked Hajj Deaths

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

CAIR ACTION ALERT #485

CA MUSLIMS SEEK REPRIMAND FOR RADIO HOST WHO MOCKED HAJJ DEATHS

Host jokes about 'annual stampede report,’ calls Islam a 'strange religion’

(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/26/2006) - The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on a local radio station to reprimand one of its talk show hosts for mocking the recent deaths of hundreds of Muslims taking part in the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

CAIR-LA is also calling on Muslims and other people of conscience to contact KFI AM 640 to request both the reprimand and a formal apology.

On January 12, morning host Bill Handel said:

Handel: "And what happens every year when you have a zillion Muslims...ah, you get stampedes, as I said earlier. You get, you know, hundreds of thousands of people pouring across and all you need is one...one little word: 'Mohammad up there is a Jew.’ (Imitates people screaming) Ahhhh! And they start screaming, right? Or, I think there's a fire here. Or...mouse on the floor, and everybody goes crazy..."

Handel: "...What they need is sort of 'Mahmoud Nolan in the Sky’ to control all this.” (Note: Mike Nolan does the traffic report for KFI from his helicopter.)

Man with heavy accent: “This is Mahmoud Nolan. Hajj in the Sky. There is an accident...Ali lost his sandal on the on-ramp to the Martin Luther King, Jr. freeway...”

Handel: “. . .that's our annual stampede report from the Hajj, which we do every single year right here on KFI, and thank you to Mahmoud in the Sky.”

Handel also referred to Islam as a “strange religion.”

To listen to Handel’s remarks, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/audio/handel.mp3

Muslims says Handel has a history of making Islamophobic remarks. In March 2004, he aired a skit that claimed Muslims have sex with animals, avoid bathing and are obsessed with killing Jews. KFI was forced to apologize after many Muslims responded to a CAIR alert about the incident.

SEE: California Radio Station Apologizes for Islamophobic Skit

"The deaths of hundreds of people engaged in religious observances is no laughing matter,” said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. “KFI needs to distance itself from Mr. Handel’s unbelievable insensitivity by issuing a formal apology and a reprimand.”

Hajj is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey.

For background on other incidents of anti-Muslim hate on talk radio, go to:

MSNBC Apologizes for 'Imus' Remarks

DC Radio Host Fired Over Anti-Islam Remarks

Jackie Mason Calls Islam a 'Murderous Organization'

Muslims Launch 'Hate Hurts America' Radio Campaign

Paul Harvey Now Says Islam is a Religion of Peace

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA, Sabiha Khan, 714-776-1847 or 714-390-0334, E-Mail: socal@cair.com

ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be firm but POLITE. Hostile comments WILL be used to further defame Islam and Muslims.) Contact KFI and Clear Channel Communications, the station's parent company, to demand that they apologize to the American Muslim community and reprimand Bill Handel for his Islamophobic remarks.

CONTACT:

1) Greg Ashlock, Regional Vice President
Clear Channel Radio
3400 West Olive Ave., Suite #550
Burbank, Ca. 91505
TEL: 818-566-6301
FAX: 818-729-2510

2) Robin Bertolucci, KFI Program Director
TEL: 818-566-6476
FAX: 818-729-2510

3) Mark Mays, President and Chief Executive Officer and Lowry Mays,
Chairman of the Board Clear Channel Radio, 200 Basse Road, San Antonio,
TX 78209
TEL: 210-822-2828
FAX: 210-822-2299

E-MAIL: programming@kfi640.com, robinbertolucci@clearchannel.com, gregashlock@clearchannel.com, bill@kfi640.com, JaniceUngaro@clearchannel.com, justinlevine@clearchannel.com, pr@clearchannel.com, MarkPMays@clearchannel.com, LLowryMays@clearchannel.com, lisacdollinger@clearchannel.com, KFINEWSDIRECTOR@KFI640.COM

COPY ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: socal@cair.com, cair@cair-net.org

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