clock menu more-arrow no yes

CNN's Don Lemon asks Muslim-American human rights lawyer if he supports ISIS

CNN's Don Lemon on Wednesday night asked human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar, who often comments on Muslim-American issues, if he supports ISIS — seemingly for no reason other than the fact that Iftikhar is Muslim.

Lemon, while asking Iftikhar about why one poll found that one in six French people say they support ISIS, snuck in another question: "Do you support ISIS?" A clearly baffled Iftikhar responded, as Lemon nodded, "Wait, did you just ask if I support ISIS?"

Iftikhar, tactfully, instead moved on to address the much broader question about what the poll showing French support for ISIS could mean.

The moment is a small part of a six-minute interview, but it represents the overall tone of Lemon's questioning, which suggests that all Muslims, even an accomplished lawyer and commentator like Iftikhar, have something to apologize for after the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Earlier in the interview, Iftikhar, who's also senior editor of the Islamic Monthly, gave a concise response for why this shouldn't be the case. "It's important to not conflate the actions of a very few to a population of 1.7 billion people, which represents 20 percent of the word's population," he said. "When Christians commit acts of terror, we don't ask priests and pastors to go on national television and condemn these acts. But sadly, Muslim public intellectuals, thinkers, leaders, and Islamic scholars have that double standard that we have to deal with."

Read more: Stop asking Muslims to condemn terrorism. It's bigoted and Islamophobic.