Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

London Muslims React to Cartoon Controversy; Interview with Maya Angelou

Aired February 07, 2006 - 09:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, you got another story for us? We might as well do four as long as you're here. I mean, what the heck.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm here for you all the time, guys.

O'BRIEN: All right, we got to get to the opening bell. Thank you, Sanjay, for all your efforts today. And the bell has already rung or not? It already rang. We were chatting. Sorry about that. But you know what a bell sounds like.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Ding, ding, ding, ding! .

O'BRIEN: There it goes. The Dow Jones Industrial average coming at 10,798. That's a rise of four points when trading closed on Monday. Back with more in a moment.


VERJEE: Iran today suspending all trade and economic connections with Denmark, and that's basically because of those controversial cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammed Muslims say very offensively.

CNN's Robin Oakley is live in London watching all of this for us.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR: No doubt of the anger about those Danish cartoons, but is there a deeper resentment among the Muslim communities in Europe? This morning I went to the heart of the Muslim community in London, round Edgeware Road, to find out.


OAKLEY (voice-over): Bashir Atazlan (ph) came from Pakistan ten years ago. Normally, he talks cricket with his English friends. Since he learned about the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, he's had other things on his mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm also very angry about that and really, really upset, as well. You can't attack any religion. I respect all the religion. I have many friends in this shop, they are Jewish. They are different religion.

OAKLEY: But he doesn't like the tactics of protesters who sought to incite murder and violence. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless this country. We live here. This is our country. I'm British as well. We respect this country.

OAKLEY: In Abu Ali Cafe, a group of Iraqis now in the property business in Britain share the outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened in the cartoon, it go deep inside our religion and this is something that you cannot play with.

OAKLEY: There was, some felt, one law for Muslims in world reactions and another for others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Arabic people say something bad about Israel or about Israel, all the people immediately, America, you America, say oh, we will put embargo on this country because it talk bad about Israel.

OAKLEY: Muslims, they reckoned, aren't understood and have been tainted by terrorists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Christian people and Jewish people or Buddha people, they don't know what is the Muslim, what is the Islam. Maybe they understand what's happened in Afghanistan. I don't believe they are Muslim in Afghanistan, what they do with Osama bin Laden and that people.

OAKLEY: They don't, however, expect to see young Muslims rioting in Britain as they did in France. Indeed, they've been amazed by British tolerance after the London bombings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't do anything about that, about something bad about Muslim people. If that happened in Iraq and they find some Englishman, they will do -- I think, they will let -- don't let him to go away. They will kill him immediately.


OAKLEY: What's clear is that for all the hurt they feel over the perceived insult to their religion, moderate Muslims here in Britain don't share the sentiment of the extremist protesters -- Zain.

VERJEE: CNN's European political editor, Robin Oakley. Thanks, Robin.


O'BRIEN: The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is on Capitol Hill as we speak. He's there for hearings on the president's new defense budget. There you see Senator Warner. That plan includes $440 billion for the Pentagon, and this is separate from the additional money that was asked for Iraq and Afghanistan.

AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken is in Washington and he's been trying to get -- help us get our heads about these big numbers. Bob, help us.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're going to say how big is the budget, aren't you?

O'BRIEN: I've done that. I could have set you up that way.

FRANKEN: You could have.

O'BRIEN: In other words, I didn't give you the right up lines. So here we go, Bob. So Bob, how big is the budget?

FRANKEN: Good question, Miles. $2.77 trillion and how big is that, you ask? Well, it is -- if you see it spelled out -- it is like 13 digits, plus two more if you want to do the dollars and cents. $2.77 trillion, as you pointed out, $440 billion of that is on the books for the Pentagon. On the books meaning that there are those billions that you talked about for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that often times come in the form of supplemental appropriations, translate off the books.

All of this and other considerations like the proposed tax decrease and cut backs and making that permanent means that 141 different agencies are going to take hits. And some popular programs included will be some programs in Medicare, education, other health programs. Pension benefit guarantee corporation at a very critical time. Child support, food stamp eligibility, farm supports. Just some of them.

Now, many of them are very, very popular, so it is fair to say that not all of them are going to be approved. We should point out that this budget is just sort of a plan. It's going to go through several permutations before the year is through. Several changes, several political fights -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Bob, it's a good thing you got that 16-by-9 wide Aspecvisor (ph) plasma screen, because otherwise you couldn't have gotten those numbers on there, right?

FRANKEN: So you like that? Big deal. I mean, Wolf Blitzer on "THE SITUATION ROOM" gets a gazillion screens, and I get one crummy screen.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, we're working on it. Rome wasn't built in a day, Bob Franken. You take the plasma screen and don't let Wolf have it back, OK? All right, we won't tell him. Maybe he won't notice. He's got so many.

FRANKEN: He does, yes.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Bob Franken.


VERJEE: A little bit bitter.

O'BRIEN: No, not I. You've been in those the screens, you know.

VERJEE: Love the screens, love Wolf.


O'BRIEN: All right, super size me, Andy. Give me a super-size business update.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE MAGAZINE": OK, it will be big. It will be 10 minutes long.

No, let's talk about stocks first of all, see how trading is going this hour down on Wall Street. Well, up one point there on the Dow Jones Industrials, barely budging.

One stock moving active about one percent is General Motors. A lot of stuff going on there. Jerry York, new board member, also just coming across the wire about an hour ago, GM announcing they are cutting the dividend by 50 percent. That will save them over half a billion dollars a year. Salaries of senior leadership reduced, CEO cut by 50 percent, others by 10 to 30 percent. Board members -- they got paid a lot at that company -- cut, 50 percent paycut. No bonuses for senior management as well.

Another stock on the move is Apple. That's up two percent. They're announcing a new price for the Nano.

Now, let's get the folks over at "The Guinness Book of World Record's" on the line here, because we've got big, bigger, longest, tallest. First of all, we start off with the world's largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean is going to be ordering up a $1.24 billion ship. There it is. It's called Project Genesis. It's bigger than a Nimitz aircraft carrier. It holds 6,400 people...

O'BRIEN: Who'd want to go on that?

SERWER: ... 1,180 foot long, 240 feet high -- super size me. A billion dollars for the ship, 240 million for the knives, forks and swimming pool and all that.

O'BRIEN: Two-hundred and forty million for the knives and forks?

SERWER: Yes. Would you like to go? I guess you would not like to go?

O'BRIEN: I'm sorry, that does not even remotely interest me.

VERJEE: After the Queen Mary II mutiny and all the problems with that.

SERWER: The pirates, the mutinies and all the bounty and all that.

O'BRIEN: The pirates on the ship -- arrrr!

SERWER: How about the world's tallest building? We've got that going on here, too. Maybe, and I'll get to that in a second. John Portman, the famed builder out of Atlanta way, is set to erect a building outside of Seoul that will be 2,000 feet tall, 151 stories.

O'BRIEN: Big, big. You know what, look at it, it's got no soul.

SERWER: Got you. Number one building is in Taipei. They're going to build a big one in Dubai. And that's all for my super size.

VERJEE: The world's best business anchor.

SERWER: Biggest, largest, best, superlatives.

VERJEE: All right then...

SERWER: We're done.

VERJEE: Coming up, one of Coretta Scott King's closest friends, Dr. Maya Angelou, joins us live. Her reflections on Mrs. King's legacy. That's next here on AMERICAN MORNING.


VERJEE: The funeral will be held today for Coretta Scott King. Flags in Washington flying at half staff. Many people know her as the first lady of the civil rights movement. Poet Maya Angelou knew her as a close personal friend. She joins us now live from Lithonia, Georgia, where the funeral is going to be held.

Professor Angelou, it's a real pleasure to have you on the program. You were a very close personal friend of Mrs. King.

On this day, how are you remembering her?

MAYA ANGELOU, FRIEND OF CORETTA SCOTT KING: In many ways. At one time, (INAUDIBLE). So there's a grief, and at the same time, there's a celebration that she lived. And I look at the world in which we are -- she's left and see how different it was from the world when her husband, when Dr. King was assassinated. The Georgia governor at the time refused to come to the funeral.

At this time, four presidents, and 16 senators and people from all over the world are here. There has been some change, and some of it is thanks to Coretta Scott King.

VERJEE: What kind of influence did she exert over her husband and over the civil rights movement?

ANGELOU: Well, I can't say over her husband. I just know that she -- according to all -- and everything I heard, and when I talked to him, he dropped his voice when he spoke of her. And she dropped her voice when she spoke of him, even until she was very sick recently. So obviously, she was a good wife. I don't know how the influence she had directly on him.

But I know a woman, not a girl, not an old female, but a woman has an incredible influence, not only on her husband, but on her family, on her community, on her nation and on the world. That's a woman.

VERJEE: You were attached to the family in so many ways. One particular one Dr. King was assassinated on your birthday. So every day -- every year since 1968, you have spoken to Coretta Scott King on your birthday. As you reflect this day, what do you remember of those conversations, what she said to you?

ANGELOU: She's always -- she uplifts. That's the nature of the woman. She uplifted people and causes. So she would lift me up. I would be kind of down in the dumps and not refusing to have a party because dr. King was assassinated on my birthday, and I had promised to go back to work with him three days after my birthday.

So she would call me up, and she'd say, girl, which is the sweetest thing a black woman can say to another black woman, especially when we were well in our 70s. And she would say the sun is shining outside. This is happening. And she'd tell me something not having to do with my birthday or with Dr. King's assassination. And before you know it, we were both laughing, or at least I was in a better mood. There was a different cast on the day.

VERJEE: Was she disappointed that she never had grandchildren? Did she talk to you about that?

ANGELOU: She was disappointed. She was very disappointed. And it's not too late, but they wouldn't have known her, their grandmother, but she really took mine, and took photographs, and made over them, and pinched them, and cooed and crooned. So she's had a wonderful influence on her own children, who she adored.

VERJEE: Professor Angelou.


VERJEE: I want you to share with our viewers something that I thought would be poignant and appropriate as we remember Coretta Scott King. It's one of your own poems, a particular stanza from "Caged Bird." And I'd like to request you to read it and share it with us.

VERJEE: Thank you very much.

ANGELOU: "The caged bird sings with a fearful trill. His notes are heard on the distant hill. The caged bird sings of freedom. The caged bird jumps on the early breeze and floats downwind until the breeze will ease, but the caged bird sings of freedom.

VERJEE: Maya Angelou...

ANGELOU: It starts up and down in its narrow cage, but it sings of freedom. And that was Coretta Scott King, my chosen sister.

VERJEE: Maya Angelou, thank you so much. A distinguished poet and close friend of Coretta Scott King. Thank you.

ANGELOU: Thank you.


VERJEE: It's Fashion Week in New York, and today we're going to introduce you to a woman well-known among fashion insiders, but who's only now becoming popular with the public -- Alina Cho. No!

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I wish, that would be really lovely, wouldn't it?

VERJEE: Who is she?

CHO: Well, you know, her name is Tory Burch, Zain, and she has worked on the fringes of fashion for years, but never as a designer until now.


CHO (voice-over): She's 5'4" and 100 pounds, but Tory Burch is a force in fashion.

TORY BURCH, FASHION DESIGNER: I love the colors of this.

CHO: Inspired by her stylish parents, Burch created Tory Burch, a line of clothing and accessories.

BURCH: I've always loved designer clothing, but I got to a point where I didn't want to spend the prices of designer clothing all the time.

CHO: Chic clothes that don't break the bank. Not that money was ever an issue. Burch has three homes, including this 9,000 square- foot apartment in a glitzy New York hotel.

BURCH: This is where it all happens.

CHO: She's a front row regular at the fashion shows and also a regular in the society column. She doesn't have to work, but says not working was never an option. Burch launched her line two years ago with her husband's money and no design background.

(on camera): So you were scared?

BURCH: I was a little nervous. I was definitely scared. People came expecting a t-shirt line or something that, you know, they could sort of roll their eyes in a way. And I think that I sort of had to prove myself a little bit.

CHO (voice-over): She has. It doesn't hurt that Burch is a walking billboard. Mariah Carey wore one of his signature tunics in a recent video, and the list of celebrities wearing Tory Burch is only growing.

BURCH: Reese Witherspoon and Debra Messing and Oprah.

CHO: In fact, Oprah likes Tori's clothes so much, she invited her to on her show.

BURCH: I was not sure it was really Oprah's people when they called. I thought it was more of a joke that one of my friends were playing on me. CHO: It wasn't. Oprah called Tori the next big thing in fashion. The next day, her Web site got an unprecedented seven million hits. She juggles it all on five hours of sleep. She says she wants to set a good example for her children and to make a difference for the women who wear her clothes.

BURCH: I hear a lot that it makes them happy to wear it. They get stopped on the street, and, you know, they feel good in it. And I think that's sort of what's exciting for me.


CHO: Might have something to do with the color. Now, Tory is a self-described perfectionist. She says even though her collection has been well-received, she doesn't feel like she has made it, and that's part of the reason she keeps going. She has plans to expand her children's line, add a men's line, even introduce a home collection. She says, Zain, it is all about creating a lifestyle. She calls her brand a lifestyle brand, so not just clothes.

VERJEE: Did she give you any of her collection?

CHO: Well, I happen to be wearing Tory Burch today, but I purchased this. No freebies, no, no, no. That's not how it works.

VERJEE: Alina Cho, never takes a freebie. Thank you.

Tomorrow on our show, a preview of tomorrow's night's 48th Annual Grammy Awards. We're going to bring you live reports from Los Angeles all morning long. That's tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING. We're back in a moment.