Blair Imani, the executive of "Equality for Her," says that certain groups need "safe spaces" and she thinks the government should pay for them. As you might imagine, Tucker Carlson disagrees. Their debate aired Friday on Fox News.
"First I think we need to start by understanding that everybody kinda misunderstands what a 'safe space' means," Imani said. "So for me today, I'm talking about 'safe spaces' being somewhere where you can be who you are without having fear of being surveilled, having violence committed against you or being harassed. And I think it's a good idea to have everywhere."
"America was built on the idea that we could express our religious freedoms," she continued, "that we can have our free speech, I know that's something that you very much believe in and I think it's, you know, a necessary thing. And we're talking about 'safe spaces' for Muslims, we need to recognize that we've been surveilled for a very long time."
"I converted to Islam two years ago but for folks who have been Muslim and living in America," she explained, "it's a crisis for them. Because you know you're being surveilled, you're being watched, and children are being affected."
"Let me stop you there," Carlson interrupted. "Why do you think law enforcement agencies would put Muslims under surveillance?"
"Well, obviously because you know," she said, "of the counterterrorism efforts..."
"Yeah but what is it, I'm sorry," he responded, "why would there be counterterrorism efforts aimed at Muslims?"
"Well there are acts of terror committed in the name of Allah that do not you know reflect the Muslim community," Imani responded.
"I don't understand why other groups won't acknowledge that violence isn't something that's exclusive to the Muslim community," she explained. "It's not exclusive to Islam, it's not exclusive to you know, my religion, and so, which is Islam. But we see people targeted in a way that's extremely unfair. And we also have this rise of white supremacists and y'know 'alt-right' violence that's being committed..."
"Oh spare me, that's too dumb," Carlson interjected.
"If you're reading only Salon all day, maybe you've been convinced of that, but the truth of it is there are hard numbers kept by the U.S. government, maybe they're in on this plot too," he added sarcastically, "that show exactly the number of people who died and how in terror attacks in the United States, and the truth is there's no comparison.
"There actually is a problem with people self-identifying as Muslims murdering other people in the name of Islam," Carlson said. "I don't think you're implicated in that, I'm not saying you are, but I just don't know you're not more upset at them."
"I'm not saying I'm not upset, Tucker!" she responded.
"OK, but what you're doing is coming on and lecturing the U.S. government from being racist and mean to Muslims," he said, "why don't you just say, 'there's a real problem in our community, we're trying to do something about it, but maybe they should stop like surveilling us so much,' that would be a fair thing to say, but instead it's like it's always the fault of the larger society and you know what, that's just silly."
Imani concluded saying that Muslims need safe spaces in addition to other groups like blacks and LGBT persons, after which she affirmed that she identifies as a black "queer" Muslim woman.