Building off his fiery confrontation with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week, on Sunday radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary sparred with CNN’s Brian Stelter in a more-measured, but just-as-crazy exposition of his fundamentalist Islamic views.
On Stelter’s “Reliable Sources,” Choudary dismissed the brutal execution of American journalist James Foley, explained away broader ISIS atrocities and explained why he goes on American media like Sean Hannity in the first place. (RELATED: Hannity Goes Off On ISIS-Supporting Imam: ‘Every Radical Islamist Like You Will Be Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth’)
Because “the British and Americans have committed all kinds of atrocities in the same area,” Choudary argued, Foley’s death shouldn’t be seen as anything unusual.
“Quite frankly, I think it’s completely pathetic and absurd for you to ask a Muslim to condemn a killing of one individual when hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being slaughtered, of which you don’t know that name,” he said.
“But don’t you understand that journalists are in a unique category?” Stelter said. “They’re trying to tell the story of this population!”
Choudary pushed back, claiming that Western journalists are “really the propaganda machine of the Obama administration.”
“That’s a crazy thing to say!” Stelter exclaimed. “The only reason that you know about Abu Grahib is because of American journalists! They only reason you know about Guantanamo Bay is because of American journalists!”
The cleric later explained why things aren’t so bad in the Middle East’s new Islamic caliphate, noting that “Christians are returning to Mosul and many Yazidis have embraced Islam.”
When Stelter rightly said those conversions occurred “under the sword,” Choudary barely backtracked. “That’s not entirely true,” he said. “If you look at the Yazidis, those people that were in charge, they were supporting Nouri al-Maliki under the American occupation. And obviously there are some people among them that need to be caught, need to be arrested and tried.”
“But for the vast majority of people, they can embrace Islam, or they can live under the law of the land, which is Islam,” the cleric asserted.
“I wonder why you agree to go on shows like Sean Hannity,” Stelter asked, noting how quickly it descended into a “shouting match.”
“You know, I don’t believe that there’s any platform which should not be utilized to pass the message of Islam,” Choudary replied. “If there’s going to be a platform that’s constantly going to be used against Muslims, I think from time to time you can go there . . . And I think that you can see from the reaction on social media that I won that debate, and many people are looking at what I actually said.”
Stelter then confronted Choudary about an incident that occurred while checking the cleric’s microphone for the interview. Though he at first began counting down from ten, Choudary then began saying “9/11, 7/7, 3/11” — number corresponding to the dates of Islamic terror attacks against targets in the West. “Is this all some sort of a joke, to do that?” Stelter asked.
“You know, if you had a sense of humor, maybe you would’ve laughed,” Choudary said, to Stelter’s astonishment. “It’s not a big issue, it’s not a big deal. But if you want to make it a big deal, by all means do so. But it makes you look much more shallow than me.”
“I have nothing more to say,” Stelter finished.