Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
A Tribute to Muhammad Ali; American Journalist, Translator Killed in Afghanistan; Anti-U.S. Base Activists Win Crucial Vote in Okinawa; Ukrainian Authorities Arrest Frenchman Accused of Planning Attacks During Euro 2016; New Satirical Ad Aims at Tackling Islamophobia. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 6, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:09] BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Stuck in limbo, they wait for the battle to end, to some day go back to their homes or
what's left of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The victims of war: ISIS targets civilians as they try to run for their lives out of Fallujah.
Also ahead this hour...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jets taking off every few minutes to hit ISIS, now from a better position than before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Shifting game plan: the U.S. Navy moves one step closer to targets in Syria and
And do you know someone who suffers from Islamophobia? Well, there could be a cure, kind of. Stay tuned to find out more later this hour.
A very good evening from CNN in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome to Connect the World.
We begin this hour with two views from the war being waged against ISIS; one, a close-up look at the military effort against the terror group.
We'll take you on board a massive U.S. warship that's launching bombing runs. That is in just a few minutes.
First up, though, to Iraq this hour, where the country's army is pushing hard to dislodge ISIS in Fallujah. Soldiers stormed into this neighborhood
over the weekend. It's just a few kilometers from the city center. And with the fighting getting ever closer, civilians increasingly desperate to
But a charity group tells CNN, ISIS is shooting people it catches trying to escape.
Our Ben Wedeman spoke with some families who did manage to get out and they gave us a very painful look at what life under ISIS in Fallujah is really
like. Have a look at this.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These children made it out of Fallujah but what they saw, though, stays with them.
Around 350 families from villages around the ISIS stronghold have found safety but not much else, in this dusty camp in Abu Ghraib on the outskirts
of Baghdad. They managed to escape from ISIS, barely. Thelmaly (ph) know the militants were rounding up civilians so he and his family hid in their
home with the door open.
"When ISIS came," he says, "they thought the house was empty. Other families didn't do that, ISIS took them away or killed them in their
As the battle approached, his village, Talib Ferhan (ph) recalls ISIS told everyone to move to the center of Fallujah to act as human shields.
"It was an order," he says. "If you refused, they'd shoot you on the spot."
His family and three others managed to hide in the marshes for four days, until ISIS retreated.
Huma Khalid (hh), she afraid to give her real name, escaped the town of Saqlawiyah, until this weekend, under ISIS control, but her husband and two
sons, like most men and teenage boys from the area around Fallujah, are being held by Iraqi intelligence for
interrogation under suspicion of ISIS sympathies.
10-year-old Muhammad Arnad (ph) lies awake in a tent almost motionless, his chest and abdomen a mass of festering, bleeding, third-degree burns caused
by an accidental kerosene fire before his family fled their home.
He couldn't be treated during the fighting. And here his father, Nejim (ph), doesn't have the money to take him to hospital in Baghdad for the
treatment Muhammad so desperately needs.
The people here have lost their homes, their livelihoods, all their worldly with possessions, a fate all too common in this desolated land.
The United Nations high commissioner for refugees estimates that around 12,000 people have fled Fallujah and the area around it, but when you look
at the big picture in Iraq, that's just a drop in the bucket. The UN estimates that 3.3 million people have been displaced in
Stuck in limbo, they wait for the battle to end, to some day go back to their homes, or what's left of them.
ANDERSON: Those numbers are shocking, aren't they?
Ben is with us now live out of Baghdad this evening, less than an hour's drive from the front lines in Fallujah. And Fred Pleitgen joining us out
of Greece this evening. Just after getting off a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean -- I'll come to you shortly, Fred. Ben, to you first.
ISIS would have us believe that they have support and a lot of it in the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah and the surrounding environments.
Do they have any support? Certainly not from those you were speaking to. What kind of support do they have? And what is their scope at this point?
WEDEMAN: Well, it depends who you speak to. We spoke to one Iraqi commander who said he estimated that 75 percent of the ISIS fighters in
Fallujah are, in fact, not from there. They're either Arabs or foreigners as he described them.
It does appear that there is a small number of supporters of ISIS in Fallujah, but certainly if there is even that, the number is dwindling
because clearly, even though the battle ahead is going to be difficult as Iraqi forces battle their way into the city, clearly as far as Fallujah is
concerned, ISIS's days are very numbered.
There were people who initially when ISIS took over in January 2014, were sympathetic to anybody who was going to push out the central government
from Baghdad, because of their resentment, but the people we spoke to, they spoke about not being able to make a living, not being able to get decent
medical care, their children barely got an education at all.
And when you see the children, they look at you with this distant, vacant stare. Clearly they have been traumatized over the last few years, as
they've lived under this reign of terror. There's no other way to describe it -- Becky.
ANDERSON: A region traumatized, of course, as it were since 2003, but much worse now, it seems.
Human shields, shooting people who leave, Ben, this is pretty desperate stuff. You might argue is this, though, ISIS on the complete defensive,
struggling in Fallujah now?
WEDEMAN: I say I think it is. Clearly they're sacrificing whatever public support they might have had in Fallujah for the sake of putting up a fight;
a fight to the death, so to speak. We do know that they are holding people as human shields in the center of the city. If they don't go, they are
shot. And therefore, what we know is that they have a rigged the city with improvised explosive devices and trenches and tunnels and any way that they
can slow the advance of the Iraqi forces.
But we've been out there, we've been to the front lines around Fallujah, the amount of men and materiel that has been mustered for this offensive is
quite significant. The Iraqi air force has been bombing regularly Fallujah. They've been assisted by coalition aircraft who hit four ISIS
So, really the time is -- the clock is ticking on ISIS in Fallujah. And I wouldn't hesitate to say that as far as ISIS goes, they are willing to
sacrifice every last civilian in that city in this fight.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Shocking stuff. All right, Ben, thank you for that.
Fred, you have been further away from the front lines, of course, but a fight just as crucial. Tell us what you have seen?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Absolutely, Becky. And one of the things that the U.S. is doing is it's massively
stepping up its air campaign in places like Fallujah, also, of course, in Syria as well. And one of the things that they've done to move
closer to that area of operations is they've taken nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Harry Truman, and moved it from the Persian Gulf to around
here in the Mediterranean Sea only a couple minutes of flight time away from Syria.
Of course, the many places that they're conducting operations there, but also faster access to
places like Fallujah as well. And when we got on the aircraft carrier, we witnessed some very intense air operations going on there. Here's what we
PLEITGEN (voice-over): High intensity operations on the USS Harry Truman. Jets taking off every few minutes to hit ISIS, now from a better position
than before. The Truman just moved from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, much closer to Syria. We spoke to F-18 pilots flying one
of the first strike missions.
LIEUTENANT "PANUS" PILOT "FIGHTING" 103 (ph): It was a close air support mission. So we don't know the targets prior to taking off. There did happen
to be a few targets. We struck those targets.
PLEITGEN: The U.S. says its air strikes are having a major effect as allied forces on the ground continue to win back territory from the extremists in
places like Fallujah and Iraq and in northern Syria. American jets not only hitting ISIS positions on the front lines, but also supply lines and cash
(on camera): The U.S. has drastically stepped up its bombing of ISIS targets both in Iran and Syria. And the Harry Truman plays an important
role in that stepped up campaign. Now that it's here in the Mediterranean, its jets are even closer to many of the targets they need to hit.
[11:10:31] (voice-over): The increased operational tempo and the move from the Gulf to the Mediterranean put a strain on the Truman's crew. The
carrier's tour extended by a full month. But the admiral tells me his men and women are still going strong.
REAR ADMIRAL BRET BATCHELDER, COMMANDER, CARRIER STRIKE GROUP 8: It's a graphic illustration of the flexibility that's inherent with the naval
forces. You know, we can -- we can operate anywhere we want to in the world. As it happens on this deployment, our priority has been the support
of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.
PLEITGEN: U.S. commanders believe the coming weeks will be critical in the fight against ISIS, now that the group seems to be losing its grip on some
of its major strongholds, gains the Truman's pilots help pave the way for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have definitely degraded them and we have destroyed them in many different places all throughout Iraq and Syria. So I feel like
we've made a large impact.
PLEITGEN: ISIS may be weakened, but some of the most intense fighting against the group probably still lies ahead and so do many more combat
missions for this carrier's jets.
PLEITGEN: And, you know, Becky, to get back to something that Ben was saying where he says he believes that ISIS would sacrifice almost every
civilian there in Fallujah in what seems to be shaping up to be a heavy, heavy fight for that town, certainly the U.S. pilots aboard the USS Harry
Truman are very well aware of the danger down there of civilian casualties. They try to -- they say they try to do their best to minimize those risks
in the way that they chose their targets in target approval as well.
But they also try to use a smaller ammunition to try and limit the target area when they do strike places like ISIS positions. But, of course, that
is something that's going to become more and more difficult as this operation, for instance, in Fallujah, but in places like Raqqa, and places
like Mavij (ph) as well, moves towards that very heavy urban combat that many people see coming ahead, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah. And arguably, of course, the coalition's bigger prize would be Raqqa, the prize that is the de facto capital, as it were, for
We know that there is an offensive, a parallel offensive, there at present. What do you know about that?
PLEITGEN: Well, certainly there have been gains made by the so-called the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is an alliance of Kurdish forces, also some
Arab tribes as well. And they really have a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, they are, of course, trying to move towards Raqqa, which is, as
you said, the self-declared capital of ISIS, certainly in many ways their stronghold.
But the other big objective that they have right now is trying to seal the border between Turkey and Syria, because that's how ISIS replenishes its
ranks, that's how it gets new fighters, that's how it gets new weapons, and so they're trying to take an area called Manbieb (ph), which is a town, but
also an area right at that border and they believe if they manage to seal the Turkish border off, if they managed to take that territory, then they
will be able to really hurt ISIS b y cutting the supply lines. There have been gains made. There have also been some setbacks.
A commander from the Syrian Democratic Forces was killed just over the past 24 hours in the fighting there, but certainly that is one of the places
where the fighting is very, very intense and it certainly is a focal point, not just of those anti-ISIS forces on the ground, but certainly of the
U.S.air forces in the skies as well, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen reporting for us, thank you. Fred, thank you.
All right, well, the battle against ISIS inside Iraq is often framed as a sectarian war, this is the one inside Iraq, strictly along Shia/Sunni
But on CNN.com, one analyst thinks that's wrong. He says it's Iraqis from both sides of the
Muslim divide trying to defeat ISIS. More on that do find the op-ed on CNN.com and extrapolate from that what you will, of course.
Right, some other stories on the radar today. And the Jordanian government says a terrorist (inaudible) killed five people at a government
intelligence office earlier, the office located in the grounds of a Palestinian refugee camp. Now, a local media report a lone
shooter opened fire on workers there before escaping.
In eastern Belgium, three people were killed and dozens injured when two trains collided on Sunday night. Officials say a passenger train carrying
about 40 people smashed into the back of a freight train. The driver of the passenger train is among the dead.
And South Korea's defense minister says he is concerned by the inexperience of North Korea's leader and his pursuit of nuclear weapons. He spoke
exclusively to CNN about those concerns and what a U.S. missile defense system could do to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:15:23] HAN MINKOO, SOUTH KOREAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): the whole world knows about North Korea's missile capabilities ranging from
short to mid-range to long-range and some they are still developing. South Korea only has the capacity to intercept a missile at its terminal phase.
So we have limitations.
If FAD (ph) is deployed to U.S. forces in Korea, our capability will be dramatically enhanced. There are definite military benefits to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Still to come tonight, the distressing reality of babies growing up with birth
defects from the Zika virus as Brazil battles the disease ahead of the Rio Olympics, an excellent report for you on that coming up.
Also, the world mourning the loss of an iconic fighter. Later, the tributes planned for Muhammad Ali.
ANDERSON: Well, a very warm welcome back. You're with CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.
To France for you. Kalashnikovs rifles, anti-tank grenade launchers, 125 kilograms of TNT: Ukraine's security service says it has arrested a suspect
who planned to use that weapon's arsenal to carry out terror attacks during the Euro 2016 football tournament.
It says the suspect is a French citizen who was detained last month along Ukraine's border with
Poland. And officials say his targets included a mosque and a synagogue.
Of course, Euro 2016 kicks off Friday in France.
Let's get you to Paris and Jim Bittermann for more. What do we know about the suspect?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, not very much. The French have not actually confirmed any of this yet. The
prosecutor here says there's no comment for the moment. But the Ukrainians gave us quite a bit. Basically, they are saying -- and they showed some
pictures of this -- that they've been following this man for some time now, several months, that they have, in fact -- what may have been a sting
operation, sold him some weapons, which included five Kalashnikovs, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, hundreds
of pounds of military-grade explosives, couple RPGs, a real heavy armament and then he tried to get them across the border between the Ukraine and
Of course, if he had gotten into Poland, he would have been inside Schengen group, and then it would have been much easier for him to take those
weapons into France. As it turns out, they stopped him at the border, they arrested him, they have now charged him.
And basically one of the curious things about this is that the French are not treating this as a terrorist related crime in the sense that the
terrorist prosecutor here has not been alerted. This is being handled by the prosecutor where the young man lives, which is over near Annecy (ph) on
the eastern part of France.
So, it may have been an arms smuggling operation more than a terrorist operation, Becky.
[11:20:28] ANDERSON: The Ukrainian intelligence agency has said that it's managed to foil, what, a series of 15 terrorist attacks they say were
planned to target France before and during Euro 2016. Is it clear whether these plans were associated with the same man arrested today or by others?
Is there any more detail on that?
BITTERMANN: Well, the Ukrainians say that this was what this man was planning, this 25-year-old was planning. So yes, they're associated with
However, whether or not that was the case, whether he was actually planning those attacks himself or he was going to sell the weapons on and somebody
else was going to carry out those attacks that we don't know, and the French are not talking about -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Last question, and very briefly, what is security like around the country ahead of and for Euro 2016?
BITTEMANN: Well, the officials from the president on down are trying to reassure everybody they're taking every step necessary. And just today,
for example, we heard from the head police officer for the Paris region that they've added a new area of security, new ring of security, around all
the fan zones and stadiums. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL CADOT, PARIS POLICE CHIEF (through translator): We are creating a perimeter of close security, which is an additional security perimeter for
pre-filtration where the first checks are conducted allowing the security of a first zone, a sort of security bubble, located before the checkpoints
situated as you enter the stadium and fan zones areas.
So we have this security zone that we call a security and hospitality zone with visual controls, bag checks, quick tickets checks for stadiums or
regular frisking for the fan zones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: So the fans will be facing the kind of security they've probably never saw before in their lives -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Jim Bittermann is in Paris. Thank you, Jim.
Well, less than two months ago, of course, until the Rio Olympics and Brazil facing a
host of major challenges, chief amongst them is the Zika virus.
Visitors and athletes are being warned -- Brazilians are already feeling the impact of the mosquito-borne virus.
My colleague Nick Paton Walsh visited some of the babies now suffering from microcephaly, a birth defect caused by Zika. And a caution, this report
shows the devastating effects of the virus.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONENT (voice-over): Born into a struggle that grows as they age. This clinic is where the disease of Zika
is cruelest in Brazil. Even with what happens when babies with Microcephaly grow and so do their problems.
Unable to tell us the pains, agonies they may or may not be feeling, or what we can do to help.
VERONICA SANTOS, MOTHER OF BABY WITH MICROCEPHALY (through translation): It was when he was born and faced the other people in the hospital. Their
expressions, seeing and accepting the difference, for me, that was the hardest phase.
WALSH (on camera): As the world works out how quickly it could spread here at ground zero, there's different problems of working, as these babies grow
older, quite what the disease means for their development.
(voice-over): Artur cannot eat. Doctors say his brain can't switch between swallowing and breathing properly so he's fed by a drip and stunted in
growth. The size of a 3-month-old, but he is now 8 months. They're testing the hearing, seeing if he turns his head to look. A little to the right, to
the left, nothing.
This is how it goes here. Every minute, discoveries that alter the child's future.
Victoria was abandoned by her natural mother at birth, adopted by Kelly a month ago.
KELLY OLIVERA, ADOPTIVE MOTHER OF BABY WITH MICROCEPHALY (through translation): When we saw her, we fell in love with her. I didn't want to
know what she had. She is my daughter.
WALSH: And today may change her life. She's having her eyes stimulated, being fitted for glasses to find out if she can see at all. It's hard to
tell what she sees, if the bright lights became real shapes.
With Lajandra (ph), it's more palpable. Her first sight. But still, her arms stiffen straight, her underdeveloped brain telling them to do so.
They talk here of prejudice, of days ferrying children between specialists doctors, of being fired from work because of that, of a lack of state money
to pull them through.
This is the world that Zika brings, and here and globally it is only beginning.
[11:25:49] ANDERSON: Well, Nick joining me now live from Rio de Janeiro. And one can understand when you see such dramatic pictures as those in your
report, why people are so concerned. Nick, in what seems like a dramatic sort of 11th Hour U-turn the world health organization has said it will
reconsider the threat of the Zika virus. Is it conceivable -- and I guess I'm asking you what are people saying locally -- that these games could
still be postponed or moved or canceled as a result of this?
WALSH: I don't think so in all honesty. There is not a disconnect, but I think greater levels of concerned being voiced by international bodies than
you hear from the ordinary, average Brazilian on the street here where they don't speak about Zika minute by minute, because frankly if you have it, 80
percent of people potentially never find symptoms. It is pregnant women who are most at risk because of what you saw there and I think that's led
to people also -- not to get a sense of comfort from the amount of uncertainty around the science of Zika, but certainly no one seems to know
how fast it spreads, how it spreads in its entirety, that that sort of uncertainty allows people to have a slight distance from the threat to some
So, no, I'd have to say I don't think anyone here really thinks the games are not going to happen, but it is the case with the athletes now growing
in number who are concerned for their own personal health from being here, because the numbers seem to grow, not only of those affected, but also of
the amount of time, for example, you'd have to abstain from unprotected sex according to WHO guidelines, having doubled last week, that leads people to
lack confidence perhaps in how much scientists really know about this disease, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Rio for you this evening. Always a pleasure, Nick, thanks.
Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead on the show. Plus, even some Republicans who support Donald Trump say this time he's gone way
too far. I'm going to see why Trump's attack on a judge has his own party so concerned.
[11:31:33] ANDERSON: And China is once again flexing its financial muscle in the world of
football. Retail giant Suning Holding, is buying a stake in Intermilan, one of Europe's most illustrious clubs. The cost: a cool $300 million,
that's the latest move from Chinese company towards Europe's soccer teams as Matt Rivers now explains.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, if you happen to have a little bit more than $300 million sitting around and you were wondering what you can
get with it, I have one option for you, you could get a roughly 70 percent stake in one of football's most famous clubs, that of course would be Inter
Milan. The deal that was announced today here in China sees China's Suning Holdings Group purchasing a 70 or so percent stake in the club, and really
is what -- is a landmark deal for Chinese investment in overseas football.
The deal announced at a press conference after the two sides met for the first time back in
January. The details have been ironed out ever since.
Now, if you don't know much about Suning, here in China very, very famous, known primarily as a retail large appliance dealer. It had sales of almost
$25 billion last year, it have roughly 1,600 locations throughout the country, clearly it has a lot of money to spend. And it splashed some of
that wealth a little bit earlier this year in a big way.
The company actually also owns a team here in the Chinese Super League, the top football league here, that would be Jiangsu Suning Football Club, and
they spent 28 million pounds on Chelsea midfielder Ramirez and some 50 million pounds for Brazil's Alex Teixeira to have both of those players
come over here and play in China.
So, really a landmark deal. And it's one that we've seen over and over again in terms of Chinese
investment in football becoming more widespread.
Right now AC Milan, the other club in Milan, is in talks with a yet unspecified group of
Chinese investors to perhaps have those people take a controlling stake in that club. And then it was a little bit earlier this year, Chinese
businessman Tony Xia bought Ashton Villa, the English Premier League club, that deal still being vetted, though, by English football officials. And
then you had China's richest man using his firm to buy a 20 percent stake in Atletico Madrid last year. And in December of last year, a group of
Chinese investors bought a 13 percent stake in Manchester City.
So, this is a trend continuing. This latest deal announced today, perhaps the biggest of them all, but not certainly the last we're going to see.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.
ANDERSON: All right. It's time for your fix on the race for the White House. Donald Trump's critics have long saccused him of running a campaign
full of racist and offensive remarks.
Nothing new, but now he is under fire for from fellow Republicans who fear their presumptive
nominee could hurt the party's chances with Latino voters.
They say Trump crossed the line with comments about a judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University. The judge was born and raised in the
United States and is every bit as American as Trump, but listen to what Donald Trump told CNN's Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico.
[11:35:04] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you are saying he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: I don't think so at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The controversy doesn't end there. Not only is Trump doubling down on those remarks, but he's now suggesting he wouldn't want a Muslim judge
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn't be able to treat you fairly because of that policy of yours?
TRUMP: It's possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, a group that advocates for Muslim human rights or just Muslim rights says it's concerned about rising Islamophobia in the United
But instead of getting angry, it's raising awareness through a satirical advertising campaign. The Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR
as its believes laughter just might be the best medicine for curing for what is this very serious problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call an Uber?
NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: So, the product is actual. It's a trigger for your chewing gum. It's being sold on
Amazon.com. So, it's an actual chewing gum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think your neighbor is a terrorist?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
AWAD: The commercial is very funny. It brings the attention to a serious phenomenon in our society that has been growing, which is irrational fear
of American Muslims, obviously and Muslims in general.
And the idea is to put a human face on millions of American Muslimcs who go about their lives every day.
We see that there is anti-Muslim, political rhetoric that has been targeting on our community
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the
AWAD: And unfortunately, people like Donald Trump, who is assuming the highest office in the land, is legitimizing anti-Muslim prejudice and
bigotry. This is not American, it is illegal, it is embarrassing and I hope that Americans pay attention to the serious impact that this will have
on our society as a nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't realize I had a problem, but admitting is the first step.
AWAD: I believe humor and satire can dismantle stereotypes and prejudice against people. And it's very effective. So I'm glad that our
organization is now using this tool in our toolbox.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islamophobin worked for me. Ask your doctor if it's right for you.
ANDERSON: Well I just happened to have some Islamophobin gum right here. And I understand our next guest does too.
Dean Obeidallah is a comedian and commentator, political commentator, who hosts his own show on Sirius XM satellite radio. He's also a contributor
to The Daily Beast.
Spreads love, take two and call a Muslim in the morning.
Oh, that it weren't this easy as a cure all, Dean. Islamophobin, of course, is a spoof medication designed to push back as to what CAIR sees as
the increasing incidences of anti-Muslim bigotry.
There is a serious side to this, isn't there? Just how bad are things in the States at this point?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN/COMMENTATOR: First of all, can we send a case of this to Donald Trump. Is that possible? Can CNN help us do that?
ANDERSON: He can have mine to begin with, definitely. I'll send mine, you send yours, all right?
OBEIDALLAH: At least we can start there. I mean, he needs an intravenous drip of Islamophobin, Donald Trump.
Right now honestly for Muslim-Americans I think it's never been a more trying time, even worse than right after 9/11, and I mean that in the
language we hear from politicians. We've never heard this before, someone saying, leading a politician saying, let's ban a billion Muslims because of
And we had Ben Carson and other Republicans saying during the campaign Mmuslims should not serve as our president and Ted Cruz and other
Republicans saying we have to surveil Muslim neighborhoods. And the list went on actually before that as well.
So, it's a challenging time. There was a spike in hate crimes as the San Bernadino despicable shootings here in America and after the Paris attacks.
In America, we saw backlash here.
So, angry rhetoric accompanied by some really horrible attacks on Muslims from (inaudible) getting hit to bullying in school. I just wrote about it
for the Daily Beast, a huge spike in bullying.
Very, very challenging times. We're still resilient. The history of the country says we are going to progress beyond this. We will move, just like
anti-Semitism was marginalized thankfully and racism was mostly marginalized. It still always be with us, but we can marginalize it to the
[11:40:05] ANDERSON: This packet, Islamophobin gum, also lists a bunch of side effects. I mean, they've done a really good job of this, with this
satirical stuff, including that the consumer will lose bigotry and it says there is a chance of being effective with a rationale mind, it says, which
will help you to see individuals for what they actually are. It also states that you should call the doctor if the Islamophobia worsens or if
the disease of Islamophobia reoccurs.
I mean it is all serious stuff.
Let's get really frank here. Is Donald Trump to blame for this?
OBEIDALLAH: I don't think alone. I don't think Donald Trump is the cause of anti-Muslim bigotry in this country. We had it before this. And let's
be really honest, al Qaeda and ISIS had been the ones, the prime factors in getting people to be afraid of Muslims.
The despicable part is American politicians playing on that. Instead of unifying Americans saying it's all of us against ISIS they've tried to
divide us, and the result is, it's -- we've seen a human result of the spike in hate crimes and bullying. There's actually a response by the
words of politicians to human life, it's been documented for years, not just with us but with racism in the '1960s -- in the 1960s with politicians
saying horrible stuff about the African-American community and there were bombings of churches down in the south and attacks on African-Americans.
So, that's the hard part. The challenging part are politicians we have to push back against it. We have some Democrats standing up for us,
thankfully. President Obama today issued a Ramadan wish. Today is the first day of Ramadan -- Ramadan kareem (ph) to any of my fellow Muslims
And a great wish today from President Obama and he took a swipe at Donald Trump again saying stop dividing people by faith. That's anti-American.
That's not what this country stands for, not what it should be about.
ANDERSON: Is this going to get worse, do you think, before it gets better? I'm thinking about the next six months which is a significant -- there will
be a significant ratcheting up, won't there, of campaign rhetoric. Are you concerned this could get worse?
OBEIDALLAH: I am very much so. I mean, one thing is we cannot control or predict what terrorists might do.
Second, we've seen Republican politicians, not just Donald Trump, other ones on state and
federal levels who have used demonization of Muslims to help their campaigns.
So, between now and November we very well can see Donald Trump do something more to demonize Muslims. The idea just yesterday, a Muslim judge would
not be -- would be unfair to him.
This is outrageous. The idea that a religion or ethnicity would disqualify you from any position in America flies in the face of what this country is
supposed to stand for and the world sees us in a certain way. And I think Donald Trump is undermining what our nation, why
my father, who is Palestinian, came to this country, or my grandparents from Sicily came to this country with the promise of this nation. People
like Donald Trump undermine that promise.
ANDERSON: Always a pleasure having you on this show, sir. Join us again. Thank you. Out of the States for you this evening.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World with me, Becky anderson.
Coming up new restrictions for U.S. sailors in Japan. Find out why they're being confined to base and banned from drinking alcohol.
Also ahead, remembering the legacy of the boxing champ Muhammad Ali. The services his family has planned to say good-bye to an icon.
[11:45:30] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World with me -- excuse me, let me start again -- with me Becky Anderson.
Now, U.S. sailors in Japan are now confined to their bases and banned from drinking after yet another alcohol-related incident.
The restrictions come as elections over the weekend gave new momentum to the Okinawa politicians opposing a new U.S. military base.
The details from CNN's Will Ripley.
RIPLEY: This highway, the latest flash point between Okinawans and American troops, a 21-year-old navy sailor arrested Sunday accused of
driving the wrong way, drunk, injuring to people.
"She was screaming, throwing garbage from the car window. It was scary," says this man who saw it happen.
Minor damage to the sailor's car, a major embarrassment to the U.S. navy at a time the military faces questions about its ability to control American
troops in Japan. Just like she did at this meeting last month, U.S. ambassador Caroline Kennedy apologized over the weekend to Japan's foreign
minister. And on Monday the navy announced all U.S. sailors in Jpapan are banned from drinking
alcohol and confined to their bases indefinitely.
For decades, claims of rape, violence and even noise involving U.S. troops have inflamed Okinawans. Last month, police arrested civilian U.S. base
worker accused of dumping the body of an Okinawa women, who police say was stabbed. That case led to this response from President Obama during his
trip to the G7 last month.
[08:25:51] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I extended my sincerest condolences and deepest regrets.
RIPLEY: But many locals say they're tired of apologies. Their small island houses, half
of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan. American bases take up a fifth of Okinawan land. In elections on Sunday, a resounding victory for local
politicians trying to block a new U.S. military base.
Is what's happening in Okinawa right now putting the U.S./Japan alliance at risk?
KEITH HENRY, ASIA STRATEGY: No, I don't think it puts it at risk, but it does put -- certainly it does put strains on it.
RIPLEY: Longtime Asia strategist Asia strategist Keith Henry says Okinawans have long felt
frustrated by the actions of some U.S. troops. The scene of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, Okinawa today is a vital base of
operations as the U.S. and Japan.
HENRY: The U.S. and Japan have traditionally been able to manage this very difficult relationship for the benefit of both countries. And I feel
strongly that they'll continue to do so.
RIPLEY: The U.S. military emphasizes the good conduct of the vast majority of troops, and
promises new training to prevent the kind of behavior that has rocked Okinawa's delicate balance once
Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.
ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, for you after this
short break, tributes have been pouring in for the boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Now his family and friends plan to honor him later this week. The
details on that.
And we pay tribute to two journalists killed while documenting the war that still goes on in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:51:27] BILLY CRYSTAL, COMEDIAN: I fought everybody, and everybody that was to fight, I fought. I didn't duck nobody. I was colorful. I
predicted the rounds. I was bigger than boxing. My fights are seen all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Comedian Billy Crystal there impersonating boxing legend Muhammad Ali at a tribute in 1979. Crystal says Ali loved the impression.
Well, now he's preparing another tribute to his friend, a eulogy that he will deliver on Friday at
You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Well, the world has been mourning the loss of the boxing great, Muhammad Ali. The three-time world heavyweight champion died Friday at the age of
74. Along with his funeral on Friday, his family also plans to hold a religious service this Thursday.
Both are open to the public and will be held in Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
He is a hometown hero, but as we've been discussing over the past 24 hours or so, he is sort
of owned by the world, isn't he?
Our Ryan Young joins us now, though, from Muhammad Ali Center, which is in Louisville there.
Just give us a sense of the occasion, as it were, as we build up to these two events at the back-end of the week?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're actually going to add a third event, they're going to have one on Wednesday for children as well. So,
it's almost a week of celebration for Muhammad Ali. The center that we're inside right now is full of people who decided to come out and pay their
respects to the champion. And we wanted to show you the inside, because last time, Becky, we joined you, we were outside and so as you look here,
you can see this countertop.
And this meant a lot to Muhammad Ali for the simple fact that when he got his gold medal and came back he wanted to sit down with that gold medal and
get something to eat. That did not happen. And that, obviously, spurred a lot of his thought process in just about how he would live the rest
of his life.
And people forget part really separated Muhammad Ali from a lot of athletes is the idea of the fact he was involved in the civil rights struggle. So,
you see this throughout this center. In fact, I can tell you his family and friends and those who loved him wanted to make sure that this funeral
service was about inclusion and everybody was involved.
In fact, here from a family spokesperson right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB GUNNELL, MUHAMMAD ALI SPOKESMAN: Everything that we're doing here was blessed by Muhammad Ali and was requested. So, you know, he wanted a
memorial service to reflect his life and how he lived and the fact that, you know, he wanted everyone to be able to attend. He wanted -- he was the
people's champ, and so he wanted that memorial service to reflect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: He was the people's champ and everybody talks about the idea that he floated like a
butterfly, stung like a bee, that was the thing that everybody was smiling about.
Look at the ring that's on the inside here. You have all these tapestries of Muhammad Ali's life put together. There's a powerful film on the other
side that's 15 minutes long that talks about his life, not only in the ring where he had that bombastic smiling Muhammad Ali. He took on everybody.
And then the outside life and his struggles and the fact that he kept fighting
for what he thought was right. And now today, so many people says, hey, he might have had the right idea and you see those principles still standing
ANDERSON: And he will live on in all of our hearts. People will be queuing down the street to see what you've had the pleasure and honor of
experiencing at the Ali Center. Thank you, Ryan.
A couple of really strong tributes to Muhammad Ali on CNN digital today. Michael J. Fox has an op-ed that is doing well. And Jessie Jackson's piece
also very strong.
Do check out CNN.com for that.
And as we all Jesse Jackson's piece strong check out CNN.com for that. As we all remember, Muhammad Ali in our own way. You can take a look at rare
photographs of him spending time with his family in the town he called home. That's on our Facebook page,
Lots of good stuff there for you.
And finally, tonight, we pay tribute to two journalists from NPR news who were killed in Afghanistan over the weekend. They were on assignment,
traveling with an Afghan army unit when their vehicle was hit.
Andrew Stevens has more.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 15 years after 9/11, the Afghan war is still claiming the lives of journalists. David Gilkey and
Zabihullah Tamanna were with the Afghan army special forces in southern Afghanistan when their vehicle was struck by shell fire. According to their
employer, the American radio network NPR.
Gilkey had won multiple awards for his moving photographs of conflict zones and natural
disasters. Colleagues describe a profound commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan. He returned again and again to follow the stories of
civilians and soldiers there.
In an NPR segment after the Haiti earthquake, he described his personal struggle working in such environments.
DAVID GILKEY, NPR JOURNALIST: You know, when you're taking pictures it's easier, and that doesn't make it okay. It's not like you put the camera to
your face and therefore it makes what you're seeing okay, but certainly you can put yourself in the zone.
It's -- I am doing this and what I'm doing is not pleasant, but you just -- you march through it.
I mean it's hard, but you can't get caught up in it and become part of it. You still need to maintain your state of mind that you are helping tell
STEVENS: Tamanna was traveling with Gilkey as a translator, but he was a photo journalist in his own right. He also freelanced with international
media outlets. A friend described him to CNN as a brave committed journalist who had substantial combat experience, but never lost his sense of humor.
27 journalists have now died in the conflict in Afghanistan, according to the committee to
protect journalists. This is the first time NPR has lost an employee on assignment in its 46-year history.
Andrew Stevens, CNN.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. And that was Connect the World. From the team working with me here in Abu Dhabi and those working with us around the
world, very good evening. Thank you for watching.