Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri writes a blog commentary about the firing of NPR commentator Juan Williams and his remarks about Muslims. Williams told Fox News that he gets “nervous” when he sees people dressed “in Muslim garb” when he is on a plane. NPR further comments that his contract has been terminated. Williams was on the show “The O’Reilly Factor” when host Bill O’Reilly was looking for support of his position that Muslims caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Williams’ appearances on conservative news media outlets have long been a sore point for NPR executives. Fox News immediately offered Williams a contract, according to The Wrap.
Williams is not the first media pundit to engage in Islamophobia. Others before him have made disparaging remarks against Islam based upon the fear of Muslims in America. Here are some of the recent examples.
Just last week, Bill O’Reilly was on “The View,” and said that “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” To that, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the stage, according to TMZ. Barbara Walters tried to say that interviewers should not do that out of professional courtesy.
O’Reilly has made many controversial and conservative comments in his years as a host on Fox News. These latest comments are next in a long string of tirades that the Fox News host has spouted.
Sarah Palin, Tea Party favorite and current political celebrity, defended the son of Billy Graham when he said that the God of Islam is part of a “very evil and wicked religion.” Franklin Graham made those remarks in November of 2001, according to Daily Kos.
In her defense of the fundamentalist Christian pastor, Palin said “Are we really so hyper-politically correct that we can’t abide a Christian minister who expresses his views on matters of faith?” Palin went on to claim that Graham was only referring to radical Muslims and not all of them. Right before Graham said those words, he claimed “Islam attacked us.” He said nothing about extremists or jihadists.
Pam Geller is a conservative blogger who runs Atlas Shrugs. It was her blog that led to the current controversy regarding a mosque to be built near Ground Zero, according to the New York Times.
In Geller’s biography section of her blog, she states she is the executive director of the Freedom Defense Initiative/Stop Islamization of America. Geller has won several blogging awards and has written numerous posts and rants on the Islamic center being built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.
Juan Williams probably shouldn’t have made those fearful comments. Williams told Bill O’Reilly that he’s written books on the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Williams, like the other three Islamophobes I profiled in this article, wasn’t punished at all. Fox News offered him a multi-year contract. O’Reilly is still popular. Sarah Palin is a celebrity. Pamela Geller got her way with all of the attention the mosque at Ground Zero is getting.
It seems being an Islamophobe in America gets you a paycheck, adoring fans, and an elevation to celebrity status. I think it is a reflection of America as a whole that so many people listen to this fear of Muslims and turn it into a very vocal minority in the great melting pot that is the American landscape.
Petri, Alexandra, “NPR fired Juan Williams for this? My plane danger list”, Washington Post.
Folkenflik, David, “NPR Ends Juan Williams’ Contract After Muslim Remarks”, NPR.org.
Stableford, Dylan, “Fox News Gives Fired NPR Reporter Juan Williams Fat New Contract”, TheWrap.com.
TMZ Staff, “‘View’ Stars Fight with Bill O’Reilly…Storm Off Set”, TMZ.com.
Morrill, Barbara, “Palin defends claim that Islam is a ‘very evil and wicked religion'”, DailyKos.com.
New York Times, “Pamela Geller: In Her Own Words”, NYTimes.com.
Geller, Pamela, “Pamela Geller”, AtlasShrugs2000.typepad.com.