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Re: U.S. Rep. John Cooksey calls turbans diapers on peoples' heads
Posted by Amanpreet S Kohli Send Email to Author on Thursday, 9/20/2001 10:05 AM MDT
The following is text from article.
Cooksey: Expect racial profiling

Advocate Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON ? U.S. Rep. John Cooksey, R-Monroe, told a network of Louisiana radio stations Monday that someone "wearing a diaper on his head" should expect to be interrogated in the investigation of terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and New York City.

Cooksey acknowledged his viewpoint raised the issue of "racial profiling."

Cooksey did not back away from his remarks Tuesday, and, in fact, restated them in slightly different terms.

On the same day that Cooksey made the "diaper" comment, President Bush toured a mosque, and numerous spokesmen for his administration asked Americans not to blame all Muslims or all Arabs for the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Also Monday, Attorney General John Ashcroft said racial profiling is illegal.

The United States will aggressively investigate the terrorist attacks, but the investigation will be conducted by the standards of the U.S. Constitution, Ashcroft said.

Told of Ashcroft's comments, Cooksey said Tuesday, "Well, I hope that no additional Americans die because of a failure to recognize that some people, that 100 percent of the people who were involved in this, met a certain profile. If more people die because we were trying not to be politically correct, I think that would be a tragedy."

U.S. officials have said Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect for planning the attacks.

"When you've got a group of people who are not American citizens, who are of Arab descent and they were involved in killing 5,000 Americans. ... I think we can and should scrutinize people that fit that profile until this war on terrorism is over," Cooksey said.

Cooksey acknowledged Tuesday that some people in turbans are American citizens, and not everyone wearing a turban is Arab, Muslim or a follower of Islam.

"No, but bin Laden does," he said.

"The leader of these groups, bin Laden, always wears a turban, and I think a lot of his followers ? if they were not based here and trying to blend into our society ? would be wearing them, too."

Cooksey's Monday interview was with Jeff Palermo, assignment editor for Louisiana Network, based in Baton Rouge.

The network packages stories and distributes them to radio stations around the state.

Palermo played the relevant section of the taped interview for The Advocate.

Cooksey confirmed he did the interview with Louisiana Network, and he said the segment of the interview provided by Louisiana Network was both accurate and in context.

According to that playback, the congressman's racial profiling commentary began after Palermo asked Cooksey if Americans should expect to lose some of their civil liberties in the aftermath of the terrorist assaults.

Cooksey replied that anyone fitting a profile "can expect" and "is more likely to" be stopped and interrogated, if he is traveling on mass transit or if he is in a vehicle capable of carrying a weapon of mass destruction.

"That gets back to something called racial profiling," Cooksey said.

The congressman said, "Terrorists come in a lot of forms," and Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, was a young, white American male.

If all terrorists looked like McVeigh, all young white American males would be interrogated Cooksey said.

In the terrorism of last week, "The terrorist had a different look, a different face," and people fitting that profile should be interrogated, the congressman said.

"If I see someone (who) comes in that?s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over," Cooksey said.

A shorter segment of the Louisiana Network interview, including the "diaper" comment, was broadcast on KEDM in Monroe, within Cooksey's district.

Cooksey said he has received no complaints from constituents.

"Only the press. The press is trying to make something of it," he said.

Cooksey is not running for re-election to the House in 2002.

He has said he will run against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu for the U.S. Senate.

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