CNN anchor Don Lemon has been widely criticized for asking Arsalan Iftikhar, a Muslim and a human rights attorney, whether or not Iftikhar supported the jihadist group ISIS—also known as the Islamic State—during a live interview on CNN earlier this month. On Monday Iftikhar joined the chorus of people ridiculing Lemon by writing an open letter in which he blasted Lemon for asking such an inappropriate question, and also sarcastically thanked Lemon for making him famous.
“Now to be completely honest with you,” Iftikhar wrote in his Islamic Monthly piece titled “Dear Don Lemon: Thanks for Making Me Famous,” “I totally thought that I had misheard him because surely there was no respectable journalist in the world who would ask a Muslim human rights lawyer whether he supports an organization which violates human rights each and every day.
“But then I remembered that I was dealing with Don Lemon,” Iftikhar wrote, going on to reference how the Columbia Journalism Review named Lemon among the worst journalists of 2014.
Iftikhar summarized the eyebrow-raising moments that earned Lemon that recogntion with a piercing hyphenate: “It is a sincere honor to be added to the litany of famous ‘Malaysian-black-hole-penis-biting’ Don Lemon media gaffes which can be added to his audition tape for his next job at FOX News Channel.”
Iftikhar went on to call Lemon’s inquiry a “patently offensive racist dumb-ass question” and suggested that if one were to pivot Lemon’s question around race instead of faith, it is the “moral equivalent of asking a white person ‘Do you support the Ku Klux Klan?’
“Anybody with common sense can see the logical absurdity of asking an American Muslim human rights lawyer whether he supports an organization which violates human rights every day,” he wrote.
Above all, Iftikhar noted that Lemon’s gaffe made the human rights attorney famous. “After nearly 15 years of journalism and thousands of media interviews, I can honestly say that I have never become more ‘famous’ than after this latest Don Lemon gaffe.”
Read more at the Islamic Monthly.