Press Releases

Palestinians Called ‘Stinking Animals’ on MSNBC’s ‘Imus’


(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/18/04) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights
and advocacy group today called for an apology from the MSNBC cable
television network over comments on its “Imus in the Morning” program that
referred to Palestinians as “stinking animals” and suggested that they all be

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also
urged that the program’s host, Don Imus, be reprimanded for failing to
challenge his colleagues’ inflammatory remarks. CAIR, which says it
received numerous complaints about the comments, quoted a transcript of
Imus’ November 12th program in which he and his on-air colleagues engaged
in the following discussion about live coverage of Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat’s funeral:

DON IMUS: They’re (the Palestinians) eating dirt and that fat pig wife of
his is living in Paris.
COLLEAGUE: They’re all brainwashed, though. That’s what it is. And they’re
stupid, to begin with, but they’re brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They
ought to drop the bomb right there, kill ’em all right now”¦
IMUS: Well, the problem is we have (reporter) Andrea (Mitchell) there; we
don’t want anything to happen to her.
COLLEAGUE: Oh, she’s got to get out. Andrea, get out and then drop the bomb
and kill everybody”¦
COLLEAGUE: Look at this. Animals. Animals!

In a letter to MSNBC President Neal Shapiro, CAIR stated: “We are firm
defenders of the First Amendment, but these hate-filled and racist remarks
can only serve to legitimize anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry in our
society and could lead to further discrimination against members of the
Islamic and Arab-American communities.” (CAIR also filed a complaint with
the FCC because “Imus in the Morning” is a nationally-syndicated radio

This is not the first time Imus has been involved in a controversy over
anti-Arab and Islamophobic remarks. As early as 1985, he was forced to
apologize for referring to Arabs as “goat-humping weasels.” (Sunday Mail,
4/21/85) He has also been criticized for using the derogatory term
“raghead.” (Accuracy in Media) In a reference to the crash of an Iranian
airliner earlier this year that killed 43 passengers, Imus said, “When I
hear stories like that, I think who cares.” He then stated: “Too bad it
wasn’t full of Saudi Arabians.” (National Iranian American Council)

Earlier this year, CAIR announced a campaign designed to counter hate
speech on talk radio. The campaign, called “Hate Hurts America,” is based
on the premise that the increasing attacks on Islam by talk show hosts harm
the United States by creating a downward spiral of interfaith mistrust and
hostility. As part of that campaign, Muslims were given step-by-step
instructions on how to monitor local and syndicated radio programs, report
anti-Muslim hate, file FCC complaints, and contact advertisers to register
their concerns.


Reports of anti-Muslim hate may be filed at:

To learn “How to Challenge Anti-Muslim Hate on the Radio,” go to:

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 29 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.

– END –

CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:;
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:


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