UPDATE: Harlan apologized on Thursday saying: “In no way did I mean to imply that because of our community’s make up, there was a higher risk of ISIS threats.”
(DEARBORN, MI) — WDIV-TV Local 4 news anchor Carmen Harlan upset many Michigan Muslims after making a comment on the state’s alleged ties to ISIS during a broadcast on the Detroit NBC affiliate on Wednesday.
When asked about a possible “ISIS threat in Michigan”, Harlan said “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.”
Many Arab organizations have voiced concern over Harlan’s comments, urging the TV station to apologize.
“This shocking lapse of professional conduct was directed against law-abiding citizens who strive to create vibrant, diverse communities wherever they live,” said Fatina Abdrabboh, director of the Michigan American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
“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.”
The threat of ISIS in Michigan has not been authenticated by security officials, according to media reports.
“These offensive comments based on an unconfirmed threat only stir up animosity toward Michigan’s Arab community,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Comments like these are an example of racial profiling at its worst and Carmen Harlan should apologize immediately.”
The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, led by the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a program of ACCESS, urged Harlan to apologize on air.
“Carmen Harlan’s comment about the Arab American community is appalling, offensive and dangerous,” said Nadia Tonova, director of NNAAC. “As a reporter, she has a responsibility to remain objective in her reporting and not draw conclusions for her audience. We request that WDIV immediately address this racially charged comment.”