Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Terror Babies; Immigration Loophole - Birth Tourists; Ground Zero Mosque Controversy; Protesting Muslims in America; Kids, Race & Parenting; Turning Greener Bricks into Schools
Aired August 11, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, Texas politicians claiming illegal immigrants are raising terror babies and getting their citizenship so they can one day return here and attack us. Two Texas lawmakers say it's happening and said they heard it from ex-FBI agents.
Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest", asking for evidence and talking directly to the FBI.
Also tonight, the Ground Zero mosque battle and beyond; protesters say don't build it near hallowed ground, but as you'll see, there's growing pressure all across the country not to build any mosque anywhere. What's happening to freedom of religion in this country? We'll talk to a Christian minister who leads protests outside mosques.
Plus, "Crime and Punishment": the search for a serial killer who police say is targeting his victims by skin color and luring them to their doom by pretending he needs help, new developments in the manhunt tonight.
And we'll take you "Up Close" later to see how kids see race. It's an eye opening, sometimes, frankly, heartbreaking follow up to our pilot study. You'll meet a little girl who says her own skin color is nasty and see how her parents are now dealing with that revelation.
We begin, though, tonight with "Keeping Them Honest." As we always do on one of the most stunning claims made in the battle over illegal immigration. The claim made by Texas Republican lawmakers that illegal immigrants are having babies here, then raising them overseas as terrorists so that they can then return here 20 years from now and attack us.
We call it "The Terror Baby Conspiracy."
In a moment, you'll hear from a former high-ranking FBI official about this idea, but first let's just show you where we think this thing started.
This is Congressman Gohmert and here is what he said on the floor of the United States Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R) TEXAS: I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things that we're looking at were terror cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby.
They wouldn't even have to pay anything for the baby, and then they would return back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, 20, 30 years down the road, they could be sent in to help destroy our way of life because they figured out how stupid we are being in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He said that on the floor of the House.
Congressman Gohmert said the source was a former FBI agent. Now he offered no proof, no evidence, and he later changed some of the details in the story actually and went on TV saying, he first learned about this from a Hamas-loving grandmother he met on a plane in the Middle East.
Well today, we called the congressman's office asking for information to back up his claim, the name of the alleged former FBI agent, for instance, or any evidence whatsoever that this actually is happening or something the FBI is looking into, as he claimed the former FBI agent said.
We also invited him on program. His press secretary told us he was unavailable and could not be reached for comment. The invitation stands.
He is not the only Texas lawmaker, though, making this argument. We were surprised last night on "360" when a Republican state representative, Debby Riddle, came on the program to debate the topic of immigration in general and talked about -- well, basically, the exact same thing.
She was joined by one of her colleagues on the Democratic side who didn't believe it. But take a look what she said about this terror baby idea.
COOPER: Representative Riddle, you told my producer that pregnant woman are coming here as tourists, having babies and then going back home, quote, "with the nefarious purpose of turning them into little terrorists who will then come back to the U.S. and do us harm." You said its part of an organized terrorist element and could cost us lives. Where did you hear that?
DEBBIE RIDDLE, (R) TEXAS STATE HOUSE: That is information that is coming to my office from former FBI officials. COOPER: What former FBI officials -- I mean, what evidence is there of some sort of long-term plot to have American babies born here and then raised as terrorists overseas and then come back here?
RIDDLE: Well, at this point, I don't have the hard evidence right here in front of me. However, this is something that is being talked about by various members of Congress. This is being looked into.
This is an issue with not only folks coming across our southern border, with what is called anchor babies and coming over for the entitlement programs, and for that sort of thing, but I think that this is a lot more sinister issue.
All of these issues we need to look at because this is a critical, critical issue for all of the American -- American public.
COOPER: But -- but you have no actual evidence?
RIDDLE: Other than that coming from former FBI folks.
COOPER: Can you tell us who these former FBI folks are? What evidence they have or what evidence they've shown you?
RIDDLE: At this point, I'm not going to reveal that.
COOPER: I mean, if this is a real threat to the security of the United States, why wouldn't current FBI people be worried about it as well? I mean why wouldn't this actually be --
RIDDLE: You know what? That is a really good question because right now, we have serious current threat that the government seems to be ignoring, and ignoring on our southern border.
COOPER: But -- but they haven't told you any actual evidence, right? So, it's -- you say some former FBI agents have talked to your office. Have they given your office actual facts or proof?
RIDDLE: That information we are still gathering.
COOPER: I mean, you've made statements about these basically terror babies that are being raised overseas to be brought back here. I'm just asking for proof. You say you -- you are still gathering it from -- from unnamed former FBI people.
RIDDLE: Well, actually I -- when your folks called me in the preliminary, that was part of the conversation. They did not tell me that you were going to grill me for the specific information that I was not ready to give to you tonight.
RIDDLE: They did not tell me that, sir. COOPER: OK. Well, if you do have follow-up information, we'd love to get it.
COOPER: I don't really consider that a grilling, by the way. I thought that was more of a conversation. When someone gets grilled, they tend to know it.
Again, no proof offered. "Keeping Them Honest", we called Representative Riddle's office today for more details on her claims about the alleged former FBI source or any shred of evidence at all.
We were told someone from Riddle's staff would call us back. They have not. Now, of course, we welcome the call any time in the future.
Now you think -- you may think that politicians are as concerned -- who are concerned about this over national security, as I'm sure they are and say they're being tipped off by former FBI agents, you would think that they would actually contact the FBI to check on this.
Apparently, they have not, because we did check with the FBI today, and they completely knocked the claim down. An official told us the agency does not have any credible evidence that this is happening.
So, all right then, we thought, well maybe, maybe they just don't want to tell us because they're currently FBI officials, and since this information is allegedly coming from former FBI agents, we -- we should be checking with them.
And that, we're happy to say has worked out pretty well because CNN contributor, Tom Fuentes, is the FBI's former assistant director in the office of international operations from 2004 to 2008. He joins me now.
Tom, you oversaw FBI offices in some of the biggest terror hot spots. Have you ever come across any evidence of these terror babies or anything like this?
THOMAS V. FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, Anderson, never. That includes -- the FBI has 75 offices overseas, including offices in Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan. There was never a credible report -- or any report, for that matter -- coming across through all the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born.
Also, I'd like to add, there seems to be a lot of former FBI agents lurking in the halls of Congress and in the legislature in the state of Texas, so I'm kind of curious about that issue as well.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, is there any likelihood that -- that this could have actually happened? I mean, does it make any sense whatsoever, the idea that 20 years from now they have some sort of plan to get kids in? I mean, frankly, it's not that hard to get U.S. citizens to attack the United States, it appears.
FUENTES: That's exactly right. It's not hard to get U.S. citizens. And not only that, Director Muller has spoken out many times publicly against the visa waiver program which means that anyone holding a European passport can come to the United States. They're six hours away by air from New York or Washington and do not require a U.S. visa.
So, they -- they not only can recruit U.S. citizens as we've seen in plot after plot or people that are already in the United States like Zazi, Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, many of these other groups, Abdulmutallab who came here on a --
FUENTES: -- on a Nigerian visa, or a U.S. visa from Nigeria, but also any of these European radicalized terrorists can fly here without a visa any time.
So, the idea that they would somehow grow terrorist babies from the ground up is ludicrous. And not only that, but I think you'd have the FBI pushing to create some type of a no pre-school list or something to address these terrible babies.
COOPER: No pre-school list, yes.
Do you think if a member of Congress is really -- really believes this, you would assume that they would call the FBI. If a member of Congress called the FBI with this theory saying they'd heard this from a former FBI agent, would the FBI inform that Congress person that they knew nothing about it or they don't think there's any legitimacy to that?
FUENTES: I think so. I think -- in this case, I think the FBI has knocked this story down completely, officially or unofficially. I think at first they didn't want to comment on it just because they didn't want to lend any credence to the people spreading it, but realized that there has to be some comment or else the no comment, you know, means there might be some secret classified information out there, but -- but there is no credible information about this particular aspect.
And something else I caught in your interview of Debbie Riddle where she says a former FBI agent informed her office. What does that mean? They talked to a receptionist? They talked to the janitor? You don't talk to an office. If an FBI agent was going to brief someone that's a public official about a sensitive matter of potential terrorism, they're not going to talk to anybody but the elected official himself or herself.
COOPER: Well, the other thing is --
FUENTES: So just that statement that somehow this was reported to the office, you know, is suspicious to me.
COOPER: The other thing that she says is that she's still gathering information, that her office is still gathering information on the facts behind it. You would think the first place they would gather information was at the actual FBI. And as you said, if they actually do call the FBI, they would be told this is absolutely completely not true so --
FUENTES: Yes, last I checked the FBI is in the phone book, so I think she could get a hold of them.
COOPER: All right. Well, hopefully, they will call the FBI if they're not willing to call us.
Tom Fuentes, I appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
FUENTES: Sure, Anderson. Thank you.
COOPER: Let us know what you think about this whole idea. Join the live chat now at AC360.com.
Up next, the kind of birth tourism that we actually know is happening because we met one of the families involved in it. Let's see who really is coming into this country to have kids and why.
And later the controversy not just over that proposed mosque near Ground Zero but many mosques across the country.
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, we've been reporting on the calls from some lawmakers to change the 14th amendment which grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States, including the kids of illegal immigrants.
Now, according to new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, an estimated 340,000 of the more than four million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants.
Now, there are no accurate figures on how many illegal immigrants actually come here pregnant or with the intention of giving birth. Studies indicate this is probably a small percentage, but we've also learned about women who come here legally on tourist visas for the express purpose of giving birth.
The family you're about to meet freely admits that is exactly what they did, and they said they do it again. Here's Gary Tuchman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the looks of them, you would never know this mother and son are at the heart of a national debate. They've both lived in Mexico their whole lives, but while 26-year-old Lupita and her husband are Mexican citizens, 3-year-old Hector is a U.S. citizen.
LUPITA, MEXICAN MOTHER (through translator): I made a decision to have my child born in the United States. I wanted him to have dual citizenship. So, one day, if he moves to the United States, he will not have any problems.
TUCHMAN: Lupita, who did not want her last name used, is well aware of the U.S. Constitution's 14th amendment which declares all persons born in the U.S. are citizens. And she admits she came to Texas on a tourist visa while pregnant specifically to give birth to a U.S. citizen.
LUPITA: One day, we might have to immigrate to the United States, and I would like my child to be able to take full advantage of his rights and be able to stay in the United States.
TUCHMAN: Hector was born at this public hospital in Fort Worth where officials tell us an average of 70 percent of births are to undocumented mothers -- 70 percent. Immigration attorneys say the 14th amendment is very well known to legal and illegal visitors alike.
JAIME BARRON, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: A lot of people sacrifice themselves and say ok, well, at least, my child, if they're born in the United States is almost guaranteed a better life than mine.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Lupita's 3-year-old son may never permanently live in the United States. Officially though, he's as American as any American citizen, but notably, U.S. immigration officials are permitted to stop pregnant women from entering the country if they feel they're coming here just to have a baby.
Did you tell the border people I'm here to have a baby? Would you have told them that, or would you have been afraid to say that?
LUPITA: I only told my family. I did not tell the immigration officer. I hid my appearance to get my entry permit into the United States.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Hector and his mother are in Fort Worth this week to visit extended family. She is using the same tourist visa that was in effect when she gave birth to Hector. The 14th amendment, she believes, guarantees all children are equal.
So, some day, would you like your son maybe to help you become a U.S. citizen? He'll be allowed to do that when he's an adult?
LUPITA: Well, yes. I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but if we're doing badly in Mexico and we have to emigrate, why not.
TUCHMAN: Lupita hopes to have another child and says she'll likely do it the same way, as long as she still has the 14th Amendment to rely on.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Fort Worth, Texas.
COOPER: Well, from who is an American, the 14th Amendment, to freedom of speech and religion, the 1st Amendment.
Up next, the outcry against a mosque near Ground Zero and a lot of other mosques, hundreds, even thousands of miles away. We'll talk to a man who leads protests outside mosques and a bestselling scholar religion, Bruce Feiler.
Later "Crime and Punishment": new developments in the search for a serial killer with victims in at least three states. We'll show you what to look out for, a police sketch and details that may help.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, the battle over that Islamic center and mosque several blocks away from Ground Zero in New York picked up pace today.
Come over here to the wall. I want to show you a new billboard that's going to be soon appearing on buses here in New York.
A conservative blogger apparently came up with the idea there's a private group supporting it. On the left here, obviously, a picture of one of the Twin Towers with the plane about to hit it, on the right over here, this is an image of the proposed Islamic center. You got the Islamic symbol there and the big question why there? Asking why have an Islamic center, a mosque, so close to Ground Zero?
The Bus Service originally refused to put the signs up, but they announced today that they would be appearing on buses in New York very soon.
Just to give you, again, a sense of where this site is, it's about two blocks away from the -- the old World Trade Center site from Ground Zero. Park 51 is what they're now calling this proposed site. Not too far away, in fact, from another mosque that's been in the neighborhood since 1970.
Today, the planners turned down an offer from New York's governor of state property elsewhere to build an Islamic center. It was another development as well.
We learned today that the imam who will be head of this center is being sent by the United States State Department overseas to talk to Muslims overseas about Muslim life here in America. So, the -- the U.S. government may not have any doubts about this imam, but apparently, a lot of other people do. Clearly, American people not so sure.
New polling tonight, 68 percent oppose putting the center and mosque near Ground Zero. Just 29 percent favor it.
We're going to talk with Fareed Zakaria about the controversy coming up.
But first, opposition not to this mosque in particular but to any mosque anywhere in America. Let's take a look at some of the images we've been seeing now over the last couple of weeks. This is in Staten Island, New York, a local Catholic Church rejected plans to sell a vacant convent to a Muslim group after outcry there. There were demonstrations there.
And here in Temecula, California, members of a local Tea Party group picking a mosque that's seeking to build a new worship center on a nearby vacant lot.
This one is Murphysboro, Tennessee; protesters marching against a Muslim center after a local political candidate accused it of secretly pursuing a radical agenda. Some protesters are saying that Islam is not a religion, it's just an ideology.
Here protest in Gainesville, Florida, local church group picketing a local mosque. This is the same group. They also have scheduled a public Koran burning on September 11.
Also in Bridgeport, Connecticut, there was a demonstration. This is just one of the demonstrators, a local mosque. The local mosque is now asking for protection this Ramadan after a Texas-based group called Operation Save America protested there saying Islam is a lie.
In a moment, we'll talk to the leader of the Connecticut protest about why he was protesting at this mosque.
All of these groups' right to protest Islam, of course, are protected in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, but so is the right of Muslims to pray and express their faith, freedom of religion. Here it is, of course, just in case we need to be reminded.
First amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech.
It's not this religion or that religion or just Christian faith or only popular faiths, it says religion, period and it continues or abridging the freedom of speech, period and not just the speech that on majority can agree on and not just the speech that's popular.
And that's the whole point. If the First Amendment only protected the popular and the uncontroversial, we wouldn't need a First Amendment in the first place. So, let's find out what's behind some of these protests at mosques around the country.
With us now, the Reverend Flip Benham, director of Operation Save America, the group protesting last week in Connecticut; also bestselling author, Bruce Feiler, whose books include "America's Prophet" and "Walking the Bible" which was on the "New York Times" bestseller list for a year and a half.
Both of you, thanks for being with us.
Reverend Benham, I understand you don't like Islam. Their beliefs are against your beliefs, but in this country, doesn't everyone have a right to worship and hold the religious beliefs that they want?
REV. FLIP BENHAM, OPERATION SAVE AMERICA: Well, I don't think there's any question about that, but what we do have is a battle over truth. Islam says that Jesus didn't die on a cross. Islam says that Jesus wasn't raised from the dead. Islam says that Jesus isn't God. We have a diametrical problem here.
Islam is a lie from the pit of hell, and we need to be able to speak that truth from the corners and the streets and the highways as contesting America --
COOPER: No one is contesting your right to speak the truth, but -- what you believe is the truth, but, I mean, why protest some mosques in Connecticut that hasn't done anything wrong? There's not some -- some terror plot that you've uncovered.
BENHAM: I understand exactly what you're talking about, and what's the problem with us not -- we're not protesting anything. We're proclaiming the truth that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by Him.
COOPER: Would it be all right with you if Muslims came to your house of worship routinely and yelled at you and said, you know, you were promoting a lie and all sorts of things?
BENHAM: They came to my country and smashed into the Trade Towers and killed almost 3,000 people. They crashed into the Pentagon building.
COOPER: So you see no difference between extremist, terrorists and Muslims who are practicing who are citizens in the United States?
BENHAM: You have to understand --
COOPER: I'm just asking. Do you see a difference?
BENHAM: Islam is not just --
COOPER: I'm just asking. Do you see a difference?
BENHAM: Islam is not a religion --
COOPER: You won't say what you see different.
BENHAM: Yes, I will.
BENHAM: If you let me. The problem is that Islam -- Islam is not just a religion. It is a political ideology that demands and forces its dogma down our throat. COOPER: Not -- not for all Muslims, though. Not -- just let me point out, not for all Muslims. There are some extremists Muslims who do believe Islam -- political Islam --
BENHAM: Let me say that Islam -- I'm talking about Islam.
COOPER: American citizens here are not saying that America should become under Sharia law.
BENHAM: Anderson, I understand exactly what you're saying. You need to ask yourself the question why are all terrorists Muslim? Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim, and that's just pretty --
COOPER: Well, that's just not completely true because, in fact, the guy who blew up the Oklahoma City --
BENHAM: Yes. You will use that one -- that one man, Timothy McVeigh, you'll use that, but that's not his modus operandi.
COOPER: Ok, let me bring in our other guest.
BENHAM: But however, it is the modus operandi of -- no. It's the modus operandi of Islam --
BENHAM: -- from 6/22 to this day.
COOPER: Bruce Feiler, what do you make of this? I mean, there are increasing numbers of protest and again, it's not even the Ground Zero thing. That's kind of a separate thing. You can say, look, it's near Ground Zero, a few blocks away.
These are protests against mosques or mosques that are trying to expand or, you know, a mosque in Murphysboro, Tennessee.
BRUCE FEILER, AUTHOR, "WALKING THE BIBLE: Yes. I think -- I'm not Reverend Benham who feel qualify to talk about what is truth or to speak for God. But I do feel qualified to talk a little about the history of religion and what Americans believe. And I think what we've seen over time is that for better or for worse, there is a correlation between violence and religion.
If you took a room, if you took all the religions in the world that have no violence in their past go to one side of the room and all of the religions that violence in their past go to another of side of the room, guess what, one side of room is empty.
Fifty million Europeans were killed in the first century after Christianity or Christians fighting among Christians.
I think what we have here, Anderson, is a fairly simple choice. You can have open warfare among the religions or you can have co- existence, and co-existence depends on dialogue.
And I think what we're hearing now from Reverend Benham and people now protesting these mosques is -- and he's been very open about it -- is a war against Islam. The Ground Zero thing, as you said, is one small thing. This is a larger war against Islam.
And I think the moment that we're in now is that anybody of any religious tradition who has ever been discriminated against, and guess what, that includes all religions. That includes Jews who were told they couldn't build synagogues. Catholics who were told in this very spot, 200 years ago, they couldn't build churches, Protestants. Anybody who has ever been vulnerable at a time for their belief system is at risk in this controversy.
COOPER: So, Reverend, I mean, the logical conclusion though of your -- of your thoughts, and I respect you for coming on and talking, you know, talking about your thoughts and that's what we try to do on the show is have an open dialogue between people with different points of view.
The logical conclusion seems to be, I mean, do you believe Islam should be outlawed in the United States? Do you believe a Muslim can be a good citizen in America?
BENHAM: I think it would be impossible for a Muslim to be a good citizen in America because he must swear his allegiance to Allah.
COOPER: So, the 5.8 million American Muslims, they're not good citizens?
BENHAM: Listen, they can't be if they swear their allegiance to Sharia law, unless, you believe it's all right to beat your wife and you believe it's all right to have four wives, I mean, that's fine. If you believe it's all right to cut the throats of people --
COOPER: You're making gross generalizations about people's religious beliefs that are simply not true.
BENHAM: I'm telling you that that's what it says in the Koran. Just look at (INAUDIBLE) and then you tell me what that means.
FEILER: What we're talking about here is on the opening night of Ramadan, someone going on CNN and disparaging a billion people in the planet. That's fine, OK?
BENHAM: Not the people. Not the people.
COOPER: What do you mean not the people? You've just said that they can't be good people.
BENHAM: Not the people. I'm talking about the bondage of Islam. Islam is a lie from the pit of hell. It brings destruction and death. That's what it does. Not the people. God loves those people.
FEILER: Let me make a point here. You've -- you've thrown your weapons out there, as I said, on the first night of Ramadan. Let me talk to you about what I think --
BENHAM: The weapons are the word of God. This word is the weapon.
FEILER: What I think is at stake here, I think there are two issues here. One is looking backwards, and it is in 3,000 years of western religion there has been a contribution from the United States, OK, and that is that the government doesn't tell you when to pray, where to pray or even whether to pray. That is what's at stake here.
Looking back is the idea that the government cannot go into your mosque and tell you where you can put it or where you can't. Four in ten Americans, Anderson, are in interfaith marriages. Is he talking about going door to door and sitting down with people after dinner table and saying, I agree with your faith or not and then slitting your throat if he doesn't believe it.
And then there's another thing and that is looking forward, Anderson. And that is,
We live in a world where there's 2 billion Christians, a billion Muslims, and 3 billion people of other faiths. And we all know we live in a global world of communications, the Internet and trade. And America's place in the world is dependant on the idea that we can exist and work and trade and do business and live alongside other people.
And that is what's at stake here. I understand -- there's not a lot of people who are clearly going to march in this war that Reverend Benham is but a lot of people do have doubts. My kids walk past the mosque to go to ballet practice.
And I think that what those people have to understand is it has been a core American value, and going forward it will be a core to America's leadership in the world with our ability to exist with people whom we may disagree with.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there. Reverend Benham, appreciate your time tonight. And Bruce Feilar, appreciate you being on, as well. Thank you very much.
Up next, we'll talk to CNN's Fareed Zakaria and his decision to return an award given to him by the Anti-Defamation League because of its opposition to the Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero. That's why he's decided to return the award.
Also tonight, meet a 5-year-old African-American girl who told me she thought her dark skin was nasty. See how she and her parents have changed since we first met them. They were part of our pilot study on how kids see race.
And if you think your child doesn't see race at age 5, you'll want to watch this, because it's shocking how much kids even at that age, white and black, see skin color and have thoughts already made up about it.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're talking about the outcry over that Islamic center and mosque planned for Lower Manhattan near Ground Zero but also what appears to be the growing anti-mosque, anti-Muslim, in some cases bigotry across the country.
Earlier you heard Congressman Louie Gohmert lay out a conspiracy theory involving Muslim terrorist babies. You saw pictures of protestors outside mosques, one of the groups planning to actually burn Korans on 9/11. You just hear a Christian minister say Islam is a lie -- that's his words.
We've seen the Anti-Defamation League, whose mission statement proclaims opposition to intolerance of any religion, come out against the downtown mosque.
Several years ago, the ADL awarded CNN International's Fareed Zakaria its First Amendment Freedoms Prize. Over the weekend he said he is returning it. We spoke earlier tonight.
COOPER: So the U.S. government is yet again sending this imam, who is behind the Ground Zero mosque, overseas to represent the United States and Muslims in the United States and tell people around the world about what it's like being a Muslim in the United States. Now some representatives, Republicans, are saying they shouldn't be sending this guy, should they?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": No, of course they should, and it just points out the central error and flaw in the way people are looking at this.
The United States has been searching for moderate Muslims, particularly moderate Muslim clergymen, to send out to spread the idea of moderate Islam and Islam that is pluralistic, tolerant. They found this guy. This is years before --
COOPER: And they've been sending him out since, I think, 2007.
ZAKARIA: Right. And he does FBI sensitivity training to teach the FBI how to detect extremist Islam, how to detect, you know, which ones are moderate. So this is proof positive, if you will, that the guy is actually a moderate, that the U.S. government has found him to be moderate.
COOPER: But some Republicans who I've talked to say, look, you know, he has said on "60 Minutes", he said that he seemed to be blaming the United States for -- in part for 9/11 or that he refuses to -- to renounce Hamas.
ZAKARIA: Look, I don't want to defend his political views. They're not my political views. The stuff I've seen of his is pretty generic, you know, and I hate to put it this way, but left-wing critiques of American foreign policy.
The core issue about this guy is, what does he think about Islam. You know, what are his views on terrorism? Does he -- what are his views on women's rights? What are his views on whether the Koran should be interpreted liberally? Whether you should be tolerant of other religions? And on all those issues, he has time and time again come out squarely in the moderate or liberal camp.
COOPER: You actually have now returned to the Anti-Defamation League an award that they gave you several years ago. Why did you return it?
ZAKARIA: Well, I'll tell you what happened, Anderson. I was going to write a column on this -- on this issue. And I was going to write a column arguing that it was wrong for the United States -- in the United States for us to be discriminating against particular religions, treating these people as second-class citizens. It was a violation of our First Amendment principles.
And I was looking -- across my office was this award that the ADL had given me. And it's called the Hubert Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Award. And I thought there was something so hypocritical about an organization that was giving an award for the defense of the First Amendment, which is an amendment that says Congress shall not establish any religion in this country or favor any religion, to have taken the stand that it did. The ADL came out and basically put its -- cast its weight on the side of those opposed to the mosque.
COOPER: Right. They claim that they support the right to have an Islamic center there, but because of the sensitivity that -- of the issue and the area, that basically they're saying you should pay attention to the sensitivities of the 9/11 victims.
ZAKARIA: Right. I mean, to my mind there's a little bit of nit-picking there. They chose to weigh in on this issue, and they weighed in on the side of telling people the mosque, you know, was a bad idea. They chose to get involved in this, in my opinion, on the wrong side.
Look, the ADL does very good work, and what I'm hoping that, by returning the award and the money that came with it, I send them a signal and make them think about what they're doing.
COOPER: Now, on buses and some buses in New York, there's going to be this ad that I think was originated by a right-wing blogger. Should these ads be on buses basically saying why there? It's going to show a picture of one of the towers with the plane going toward it, and it's going to show a picture on the other side -- there it is -- you know, of a building with an Islamic symbol on it.
ZAKARIA: Sure it should run. I mean, I don't know what the MTA's particular rules are, but my own view is freedom of expression means freedom of expression. If people want to buy ads saying whatever they want, that's just fine.
Look, the politics of this are clear. Most people are opposed to this. I understood that full well when I took the stand I did. But American democracy, the glory of American democracy is that it is not just about what the majority thinks is right.
The Bill of Rights is an anti-democratic document. The Bill of Rights says, "No matter what the majority thinks, these rights are sacrosanct." And the first of those rights, the First Amendment, is about freedom of religion.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, appreciate it. Thanks.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up next on the program, tracking a serial killer. He slashes his victims to death. He lures them with a plea for help. He may be motivated by skin color. The latest on the manhunt to find him.
COOPER: Want to tell you about new developments in the hunt for that escaped killer on the run from his girlfriend, you know, the one who also happens to be his cousin.
Earlier reports said that John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch may have robbed a store today in Arkansas. Officials are not ruling out the possibility but told CNN it's unlikely that the fugitives were actually involved.
At the same time, the U.S. marshals say the pair changed their appearance. You see the composite pictures. They say McCluskey dyed his hair black and now has a dark beard. Welch apparently now has blond hair. Police say she may have lost weight.
McCluskey and two other inmates broke out of an Arizona prison last month. The other two have since been caught. McCluskey may also be linked to a double murder last week in New Mexico.
There's a hunt for another killer, though, on tonight. We want to tell you about a serial killer who allegedly stabs his victims to death and who may be behind attacks in at least three states. Now, authorities say he appears to be choosing his targets by skin color.
The terror began in Flint, Michigan, and as you'll see, the serial killer often pretends to need help before striking without warning. Joe Johns reports.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a look at this car. It's a green Trailblazer with light-colored trim and two big dents in the hood, license plate unknown. Police say the guy behind the wheel of a car like this is a suspected serial killer.
This video was recorded August 6 by a surveillance camera in Leesburg, Virginia, moments before one of the attacks. The police have surveillance video of what happens next but won't release it for now, but the police chief described for me the chain of events when the driver of the car approached a 19-year-old man on the parking lot.
CHIEF JOSEPH PRICE, LEESBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT: It looks like he's stalking our victim. Quickly approaches him. The suspect gets out, asks the victim for some help with a faint mechanical problem. As the victim attempts to open the hood, the suspect swings what looks to be some type of a hammer-type instrument at him. Our victim is able to detect that in his peripheral vision, ducks and gets a glancing blow.
JOHNS: Police believe that since late May the same attacker has left a trail of carnage and violence from the Great Lakes region of Michigan and Ohio, where there were 17 attacks, all the way down to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, where three more attacks occurred last week.
(on camera): Police say the first case in Virginia happened near this intersection in Leesburg, August 3, 9:30 at night. A teenager, 15 years old, out for an evening jog, apparently never even saw it coming. Felt a pain in his back, reached around and felt the blood, saw a guy jump into his car and drive away. The teenager came to this gas station for help.
(voice-over): That young man survived the attack, but the victim's relatively small size led authorities to believe there are some similarities, suggesting they're dealing with a serial killer.
The suspect apparently chooses targets based on how small or weak they seem to be or how kind hearted. Some victims told police that, like in Leesburg, a guy stopped them and asked them for help with car problems or for directions before attacking them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to help him, and he just started stabbing me with a big, long, nasty killing knife.
JOHNS: And that's another possible link. In every case, the attacker's weapon of choice is either a hammer or a knife. This man, who asked not to be identified, is one of only two of the alleged killer's known targets who is white. Seventeen other victims are black. Police describe another man as a dark-skinned Hispanic.
The killer is believed to be a white man, which presents a loaded question. Are these attacks motivated by some sort racial hatred? For the Leesburg police chief, the answer is yes.
PRICE: We have classified this as a hate crime.
JOHNS: But authorities in Flint, Michigan, where the bulk of the attacks occurred, aren't so sure.
DAVID LEYTON, GENESEE COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We don't know what's in the mind of this assailant. We have no idea why he's doing what he's doing. Obviously, there's something wrong with the individual.
JOHNS: You don't have to tell that to the 20 known victims.
Joe Johns, CNN, Leesburg, Virginia.
COOPER: Still ahead, a cheaper, better, greener brick and how it's helping to educate kids, tonight's "One Simple Thing" report.
COOPER: Another follow-up tonight on kids and race. Months ago we asked a team of expert researchers to conduct a pilot study. They tested more than 130 kids in the north and the south United States and found substantial amounts of what researchers call white bias, basically associating positive qualities with light skin color and negative qualities with dark skin.
A 5-year-old African American girl named Brielle told me she thought her dark skin was nasty. Well, that was a wake-up call for her parents to try to change the way they talk about race.
Soledad O'Brien caught up with Brielle's family recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why do you want that skin color?
BRIELLE: Because it looks lighter than this kind, because this looks a lot like that one.
BRIELLE: And I just don't like the way brown looks, because the way brown looks, it looks really nasty for some reason, but I don't know what reason. That's all.
COOPER: So you think it looks nasty?
BRIELLE: Well, not really, but sometimes.
And Brielle, they asked what color adults don't like. Do you remember what you said? Which one?
That's right. That's what you said. Why do you think adults don't like that color?
COOPER: Dark. And adults -- you think adults don't like dark?
BRIELLE: Well, maybe some adults do, but maybe some of them don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, what Brielle said there and also in the pilot study was a wake-up call for her parents to try and change the way they talk about race at home. Soledad O'Brien caught up with Brielle's family recently.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Brielle today. Her parents, Byron and Latisha, focused on changing her self-perception, shocked at Brielle's answers.
LATISHA: It made me feel like, wow, what are we doing wrong? But we thought about some of the experiences that she has had where she has noticed her skin color at an early age, and we thought that it was affecting her a certain way, but we didn't realize that she realized it.
BYRON: Her perception was that a lot of times the golden hair or the lighter skin kids got to be on line first for whatever. Or there was one incident in the way that they cast even the Christmas play.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Light-skinned kids were the stars?
BYRON: Right. But the part that she got was the one that nobody would have possibly wanted.
O'BRIEN: What did she play?
BYRON: A donkey. Could have been a sheep, could have been any other barn animal, you know, but she ended up being the donkey.
O'BRIEN: And she knew at age 3 that that was not the animal to be.
BYRON: Sure. And messages similar to those, I think, at 3 years old, those are things that you actually do remember, I believe, in the subconscious.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): For Brielle's parents, counteracting those messages for her and her sister Brianna is now, more than ever, a priority.
BYRON: They are the most beautiful girls in the world as far as I'm concerned, and they need to know that. And I need for them to know that.
I've tried to find ways to link that physical beauty, you know, skin tone, your pretty hair, your pretty eyes, whatever it is, to the beauty. I'm not speaking of beauty that is just because of what's inside. You're beautiful on the outside, as well.
O'BRIEN: Brielle's answers got a strong reaction from family, friends and parishioners at church.
(on camera): Did someone say, "What are you teaching this child?"
LATISHA: No. They were shocked at her answer, but it wasn't like a negative thing. A lot of people who spoke to me, they stuck up for her. They said, "Well, what do you expect? Look at society. When you get married, what do you wear? You wear white. When the bad guy goes to rob a bank or a store, what does he puts on? He puts on black, so what are the messages?"
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Beyond looking at what their daughters see and hear from the world, Byron and Latisha are looking inward.
(on camera): What advice would you give other parents who say, "I don't know what to say to my kid?"
BYRON: Honestly, I'd say the first level is -- is within. It's hard to have a conversation about acceptance or even about having healthy pride in your own race when there are some very real predispositions within oneself.
If I'm uncomfortable around white people, it's going to be hard for me to show my daughter to be comfortable, so make sure that we're doing all we can to adjust our own mindsets into one that really sees the equality of people and not just in speech, in reality.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well. One family's reaction; we're going to have more tomorrow night on the program about our pilot studies.
In tonight's "One Simple Thing" report, saving trees and electricity while building much-needed schools faster. It's happening in Madagascar and the key, if you can believe it or not, is a better brick.
Here's Ben Wedeman.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It may look like just another brick in the wall, but these are bricks with a difference. They are being used to build a new classroom for a rural school outside Madagascar's capital of Antananarivo, a project run by the U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF, and Madagascar's ministry of education.
The local community lends a hand, hauling the bricks, doing the hard work, sharing advice and suggestions with the contractors because their children need a new classroom, indeed a new school.
The old one is run down and crowded and a bit cool up here in the highlands. So what is so special about these bricks?
(on camera): This is a traditional Madagascar brick, baked in the kiln fired by wood from the country's disappearing forest. These bricks on the other hand are press and dried in the air. They require almost no concrete and construction and building a classroom like this will cost $1,000 less than using those old bricks.
(voice-over): Tiana Vatosoa is the UNICEF engineer overseeing the work here. He says there is another benefit to these bricks, all of which are standard size in shape, a lot like heavy duty Lego blocks.
"If we compare with the old bricks," he says, "it took around three months or more to do this work, but now we can make a classroom in just two months."
The machines that make these bricks were designed and manufactured in Madagascar. And they run on elbow grease alone, a definite plus in a country where electricity has yet to reach many villages. With a bit of muscle, two people can turn out around 400 bricks a day.
UNICEF's Margarita Focas-Licht says this new technology is starting to catch on.
MARGARITA FOCAS-LICHT, UNICEF: I think it is because the more we provide a market for creating these bricks, the more producers there and the more interest there is for using these bricks. There are other buildings being built also with these bricks and I think it's coming. We have seen progress over the last few years of more producers. So I think there is a market being created.
WEDEMAN: Most importantly, though, cash-strapped Madagascar has to build around 2,000 classrooms a year to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population of school children, who do need an education.
Ben Wedeman, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
COOPER: "One Simple Thing." That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.