Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal responded Tuesday to an MSNBC guest who suggested this week that the Indian-American governor might be “trying to scrub some of the brown off his skin,” telling the Washington Examiner’s media desk that he’s embarrassed for the cable news network.
"It's embarrassing for MSNBC to give voice to such shallow foolishness. Much like Michael Moore denigrating our military servicemen, these comments deserve no comment,” Jindal told the Examiner on Tuesday.
Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights attorney and regular guest on MSNBC and CNN, made the “brown skin” comments Monday afternoon in response to Jindal suggesting this weekend that there are supposed "no-go zones" for non-Muslims in Europe.
The existence of supposed “no-go zones” — where Islamic law reigns supreme and local authorities basically have no power — has been denied by European authorities, including British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"[W]hen I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools Day,” Cameron said after he learned Fox News hosted a guest, national security analyst Steve Emerson, who suggested Birmingham, England, is one of these supposed “no-go zones.”
Fox News has since apologized for Emerson’s comments and said that he will not be invited back for future engagements.
Iftikhar told MSNBC’s Alex Wagner on Monday that Jindal’s decision to “latch onto” the dubious "no-go zones" claim isn’t entirely surprising.
"I think Gov. Jindal is protesting a bit too much," Iftikhar said. "He might be trying to scrub some of the brown off his skin as he runs to the right in a Republican presidential exploratory bid."
"I think it's the worst common denominator of American politics to marginalize any minority demographic group," he added. "I'm pretty sure that Gov. Jindal will come to his senses, hopefully, in the next couple of days."
Jindal, an Indian-American and a Roman Catholic, told the Examiner he’s unimpressed with Iftikhar’s criticism.
“I will not be silenced,” he said. “Radical Islam must be stopped, and we must stop pretending. It is time for the Western world to face reality. These are not cultural differences, this is the difference between right and wrong. It is wrong to treat women as second-class citizens and it is wrong to shoot civilian teenagers in the head for watching soccer on [television]. Period,” he added.
An MSNBC spokeswoman told the Examiner that Iftikhar is no longer welcome at the cable news network.
“We found this guest’s comments offensive and unacceptable and we don’t plan on inviting him back,” MSNBC vice president of communications Rachel Racusen told the Examiner on Tuesday.
Iftikhar, for his part, remains defiant, telling CNN in a statement that he has no intention of walking back Monday's comments.
"I will apologize to Bobby Jindal when he apologizes to seven million American Muslims for advancing the debunked 'Muslim no-go zones' myth,” he said.