Following Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner over Detroit, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter has dedicated the last few days to reviving the myth that Obama attended a radical Islamic madrassa as a child in Indonesia. According to Coulter, that puts his administration in a unique position to institute racial profiling to prevent future attacks.
Coulter began the week on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor deceptively insisting that since Obama attended madrassas and has brown skin, that means that “if anyone can say we’re going to look for radical Islamists, it ought to be President Obama.” On the December 30 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Coulter once again promoted the madrassa lie as a way to justify and encourage racial profiling by the Obama administration:
…If anything, I mean — I mean, they kept using it as a selling point that Obama would throw Islamic radicals on their hind legs when they look up and they see someone who studies with [sic: studied at] madrassas and they see the “Great Satan” has a president with a brown face and the world is going to love us. […]
And like I say, Obama can be doing more than Bush. He is specially situated that way, as having gone to madrassas as a child, not being a white male, which is, you know, the height of political incorrectness, but just the contrary, we’re moving in exactly doing the — making — repeating the worst mistakes of the Bush administration.
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Media Matters points out that the madrassa lie, which was initially reported as truth in Insight Magazine and then promoted on Fox & Friends, was debunked back in 2007 by CNN. Though Fox News was forced to “clarify” its report two years ago, no one from Fox jumped in to correct or challenge Coulter’s claims this week.
Back in 2006, Coulter argued that profiling Muslims is justified because it’s just like “profiling the Klan.” Despite the growing chorus of right-wingers exploiting last week’s failed terrorist attack to renew their call for racial and ethnic profiling, data shows such tactics represent “a flawed law enforcement tactic that diverts precious anti-terrorism resources, alienates potential allies in the anti-terrorism struggle, and is inconsistent with cherished notions of freedom and equality.”