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CNN's Don Lemon Asked A Muslim Human Rights Lawyer If He "Supports ISIS"

The lawyer had just spent most of the segment condemning the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris and explaining why it was wrong to conflate the actions of "irreligious criminals" with a religion of 1.7 billion people.

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Here's how it went down:

Lemon invited Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor of the Islamic Monthly and founder of The Muslim Guy, to talk about the Islamist extremist attacks that left 12 people dead in Paris.

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?"

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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."

You can watch the full interview here.

vine.co

Several people on Twitter berated Lemon for insulting Iftikhar.

Human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar @TheMuslimGuy interview is a stunning insult to his work and advocacy. https://t.co/MwmY8o0OHn

Michael Steele@MichaelSteeleFollow

Human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar @TheMuslimGuy interview is a stunning insult to his work and advocacy. https://t.co/MwmY8o0OHn

11:26 AM - 08 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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By asking @TheMuslimGuy if he supported #ISIS @donlemon confirmed why he deserved being named 2014's worst journalist http://t.co/xN5vNJUUu4

Amad@amadshkFollow

By asking @TheMuslimGuy if he supported #ISIS @donlemon confirmed why he deserved being named 2014's worst journalist
http://t.co/xN5vNJUUu4

12:48 AM - 08 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Asking Arsalan (AUTHOR OF THE BOOK ISLAMIC PAFICiSM) if he supports ISIS, is like confusing Angela Davis with Condi Rice. #donlemonfail

Dave Zirin@EdgeofSportsFollow

Asking Arsalan (AUTHOR OF THE BOOK ISLAMIC PAFICiSM) if he supports ISIS, is like confusing Angela Davis with Condi Rice. #donlemonfail

12:20 AM - 08 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

And then the #CNN version of a Fox News anchor @donlemon asks human rights attorney @TheMuslimGuy if he supports ISIS. Head just exploded.

Shaheen Pasha@profpashaFollow

And then the #CNN version of a Fox News anchor @donlemon asks human rights attorney @TheMuslimGuy if he supports ISIS. Head just exploded.

12:25 AM - 08 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Don Lemon just asked Muslim Arsalan Iftikhar if he supported ISIS. How does he have a show on cable news?

Matt Murphy@MattMurph24Follow

Don Lemon just asked Muslim Arsalan Iftikhar if he supported ISIS. How does he have a show on cable news?

11:19 PM - 07 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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