U.S. news anchor apologizes after ‘shocking’ ISIS remark
Carmen Harlan says sorry for comment linking Detroit’s large Arab population with likelihood of ISIS terror plot
A news anchor in the United States has apologized after making a “shocking” remark suggesting the large Arab population of Detroit meant there is an increased likelihood of an ISIS attack.
Carmen Harlan, anchor with WDIV-TV Local 4, made the controversial remark on Wednesday following a report by Kimberly Gill about an alleged ISIS threat in Michigan state.
“Given the fact that we have the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East, I guess this should not come as a real surprise,” Harlan remarked.
“You’re exactly right,” Gill replied.
Arab organizations in the United States expressed concern at the on-air comments.
“This shocking lapse of professional conduct was directed against law-abiding citizens who strive to create vibrant, diverse communities wherever they live,” Fatina Abdrabboh, director of the Michigan American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told the Lebanese Examiner.
“Naturally, this type of analysis is very problematic for our community as we watch the impact of blanket indictments on the Arab-American and Muslim community that have nothing to do with the ISIS phenomenon at all.”
Harlan apologized for her comments the following night, saying journalists’ words can sometimes be “misunderstood.”
“In no way did I mean to imply that because of our community’s makeup, there was a higher risk of ISIS threats… If a misunderstanding occurred, and it must have, that was never my intent. For that, I apologize.”
Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, applauded the effort to correct the mistake.
“Carmen Harlan did the right thing by apologizing for the remarks she made,” said Scott in a press release.
“As a respected journalist who has been a staple in Detroit, we believe Harlan meant no ill will in her comments, but they were still dangerous and needed to be addressed. We appreciate the swift and sincere apology Harlan offered.”