Political Analysis

Yemeni Embassy demands apology from MSNBC anchorman

Boston marathon bombing suspects

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev(right), one of the two lead suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing along with his elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev(left), was caught by the police. Tamerlan died after a shootout with the Boston police force.


By Jihan Anwar

The Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C., voiced its concern over ‘unfair’ comments made by MSNBC anchorman Chris Matthews.

Commenting on the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing which took place on April 15th 2013, Matthews posed the following question to the guests at his show:

“To be blunt and not be into political profiling or racial profiling but when you look at a picture that we’re looking at now are there people in the FBI, in the investigative world that can look at the picture, study it ethnographically and figure what the odds are on a fellow like that being from different parts of the world, say YEMEN or any other parts like that?”

Mohammed AlBasha, Spokesperson of the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington sent out a press release in which he stated that the Embassy of Yemen was ‘concerned and appalled’ when the MSNBC anchor indirectly suggested that Yemenis are terrorists.“This was an unfair comment, which the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, D.C. strongly condemns.”

The hosts of the show, former FBI agent Don Borelli and former ATF agent James Cavanaugh, rebutted that it would be difficult to know for certain the nationality of a person simply by looking at their pictures. Mr Matthews insisted “We can do that with DNA now. You or I can go in and find out where our DNA came from. Can they do that with a face?”

“Mr. Matthews’ comments have offended hundreds of thousands of American citizens of Yemeni decent who are law abiding citizens,” reads the press release. Rumors suggested that the suspects were from Saudi Arabia, but the capture of suspects on 20 April suggests that this information was unfounded.

Reuters reported that one of the suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was caught after an exchange of gunfire with police officers; while the other suspect, Dzhokhar’s older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed on Thursday night by the police in a chase. He was reported as detonating explosives to deter officers from capturing him during the man hunt.

People in the Boston area were reported to have gathered in the streets to cheer the news of the capture after the Boston Police Department wrote on twitter “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.” The explosion at the Boston Marathon left reportedly 3 dead people and over 176 people injured.

The Embassy of Yemen in Washington affirmed that Yemen continues to be a partner with the United States of America to fight violent extremist groups and terrorism.

“Given that Mr. Matthews’ comment was, whether directly or indirectly, discriminatory against Yemenis, it only seems appropriate that Mr. Matthews issues an immediate apology,” the official statement said, “It’s enough that Arabs, including Yemenis, deal with racial profiling and discrimination on a daily basis. The last thing they need is for prominent media personalities to reinforce these beliefs.”