FCC complaint filed over Islamophobic radio skit
In the March 10 Bill Handel show on KFI AM 640, a pretend "Muslim" allegedly reading from the new Iraqi constitution refers to "hairy Iraqi women," "lovely Japanese schoolgirls," the "infidel custom of bathing on a regular basis," and "civil unions" between Iraqis and "loving camels and goats."
Throughout the skit, called "The New Iraq Constitution - Handelized," the mock-Muslim repeatedly stated "Allah be praised," "death to the Jews" and "kill all Jews." Listeners also heard recordings of Islamic prayers in Arabic. CAIR-LA asked the station to apologize for the offensive skit, but that request was denied.
To listen to the offensive skit: Click HERE for Real Player format or click HERE for Windows Media fomat.
"While we understand and appreciate the concept of comic satire, this skit obviously crossed the line from comedy to outright bigotry and racism that could negatively impact the lives of ordinary American Muslims," said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. Khan said the KFI program contained some of the most hate-filled and Islamophobic statements reported to CAIR in recent years.
In her letter to the FCC, Khan wrote: "Increased ratings should not be obtained at the expense of any culture or religion. We fully respect and value freedom of speech, including for Mr. Handel, however, these Islamophobic comments are outrageous and hurtful, and only serve to increase animosity and hatred against the American Muslim community. No doubt, such bigotry would not, and should not, be tolerated if it were directed toward any other ethnic or religious group."
A similar letter was sent to KFI's parent company, Clear Channel Communications. The FCC recently voted to fine Clear Channel $250,000 for nine alleged indecency violations. That fine came just over a month after the nation's largest radio chain was hit with a record $755,000 penalty. Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would boost indecency fines to $500,000 per incident.
(FCC rules prohibit radio and TV stations from airing offensive material that refers to sexual functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The offensive skit aired after 8 a.m.)
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