CNN anchor Don Lemon made the Columbia Journalism Review's list of worst journalism of 2014 for gaffes such as this, this, this and this.
On Wednesday, Lemon asked a Muslim human rights lawyer, who had just strongly condemned the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, if he "supports ISIS."
Here's how it went down:
Iftikhar said that Muslims around the world were "shocked and horrified" at the attacks and that they went against the "normative teachings of Islam." "It's a crime against humanity and an act of mass murder," Iftikhar said.
He also said he didn't have a problem with Charlie Hebdo's cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed and added that the terrorist acts were "about as Muslim as abortion clinic bombers or gay nightclub bombers acts are Christian."
Iftikhar then went on to describe the attackers as "irreligious criminals committing acts of mass murder" and said "it was important not to conflate the actions of a very few to a population of 1.7 billion people, which represents 20 percent of the world's population."
Lemon then asked Iftikhar to explain why a Russian news agency poll (not a Newsweek poll, as Lemon incorrectly stated) in August 2014 found that 16% of all French citizens supported ISIS. The lawyer said that while those people "have sympathies for that ideology, I don't think that would mean they justify the killings of innocent civilians or murdering people on the streets."
Lemon continued to probe Iftikhar. "In August, 16% of French citizens support ISIS," Lemon repeated. "Would you describe those who support ISIS as Islamic extremists? Do you support ISIS?"
Iftikhar responded incredulously, "Wait. Did you just ask me if I support ISIS?"
After Lemon confirmed with a nod that he did indeed ask Iftikhar whether he supported ISIS, Iftikhar said, "I just answered your question. I said that obviously these 16% of people support the ideology, but again, I don't think that would necessarily extrapolate to supporting of killing of innocent people."
Several people on Twitter berated Lemon for insulting Iftikhar.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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