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CNN Uses Sikh Shooting to Tackle Islamophobia -- Despite No Evidence Linking the Two

Despite admitting no direct evidence of Islamophobia behind the recent Wisconsin Sikh shooting, CNN's Carol Costello still tried to connect Islamophobia to the shooting and hype it as a national problem that needs to be discussed.

"No one knows why Wade Page allegedly chose the Oak Creek Sikh Temple," she began before adding "maybe" the shooter mistook the Sikhs for Muslims. Then she took this hypothesis and tied it to America's national scandal of Islamophobia. 

"But as a society, how can we stem anti-Muslim sentiment?" she wondered before playing a clip of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok stating that "we are looking at the – the very real possibility of more domestic terrorism along these lines."

[Video below. Audio here.]

Again, however, Costello provided no direct evidence of Islamophobia behind the shootings. "Many observers say Sikhs have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11, but that implies Muslims can be fairly targeted. Well, they are targeted," Costello affirmed, jumping ahead to cases of anti-Muslim bigotry.

She cited as evidence the burning of a mosque in Missouri and Murfreesboro, Tennessee residents opposing the opening of a mosque in town, as well as congressmen wanting an investigation into government officials with alleged ties to Muslim extremism.

"So the 'Talk Back' question today, what can be done about Islamophobia in America?" Costello asked her audience.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 7 on CNN Newsroom at 9:24 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

[9:24]

COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning, what can be done about Islamophobia in America?

No one knows why Wade Page allegedly chose the Oak Creek Sikh Temple. Maybe as horrible as it sounds, it was convenient. Maybe it was because worshipers there had brown skin or because they wore turbans, or maybe, as so many have speculated, the gunman thought Sikhs were Muslim.

Oh, many of us say. Now we get it. After all, Page had that 9/11 tattoo on his arm. Who knows? But again, a religious group felt compelled to tell the nation they were peaceful and not militant Muslims.

(Video Clip)

KANWARDEEP SINGH KALEKA, temple member: Ignorantly takes it out on a community that he thinks are responsible, which is ludicrous in every way. I mean not only are we Sikh, we're not Muslim, but Muslims themselves aren't even responsible as a group for that.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: Many observers say Sikhs have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11, but that implies Muslims can be fairly targeted. Well, they are targeted. A mosque was destroyed by fire in Missouri. The FBI suspects arson. In Tennessee, neighbors have been still -- have been trying and trying to keep a mosque from opening in Murfreesboro. And in Washington, D.C., prominent politicians hint extremist Muslims are influencing our government despite dubious evidence. But as a society, how can we stem anti-Muslim sentiment?

(Video Clip)

MARK POTOK, senior fellow, Southern Poverty Law Center: I think in the longer run, in a matter of months and even years, yes, we are looking at the – the very real possibility of more domestic terrorism along these lines. You know, we've seen it in Europe as well as here, and I think this is accelerating, not decelerating.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: So the "Talk Back" question today, what can be done about Islamophobia in America?

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center