Fear lost job for Juan Williams
Ten years. That’s all it takes to turn an entire sub-population from public enemy number one to public sympathy number one.
In the months following 9/11, Muslims in the United States were afraid of being associated with the extremists who took down the World Trade Centers and parts of the Pentagon.
Fast-forward a decade. Many moderates and liberals have adopted Islam as the minority group to rally around. Less than two weeks ago on the View, a popular daytime talk show, Bill O’Reilly’s comments caused two of the hosts, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, to storm off of the set.
When O’Reilly was asked by Goldberg why the majority of Americans don’t want the mosque at ground zero to be built, O’Reilly responded, “Because Muslims killed us on 9/11.”
That’s it. No outrageous, bigoted comments, just the truth. That’s all it took for two co-hosts to leave their own show in a fit of rage. Muslims did kill us on 9/11. In fact, every terrorist involved in the plot was Islamic.
Fast-forward a week. Juan Williams, former reporter for National Public Radio (NPR) and the liberal voice commonly seen on Fox News, was talking with O’Reilly about political correctness.
“Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot,” Williams said, “You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
Fast-forward two days. Juan Williams no longer works for NPR. CEO Vivian Schiller commented that their reporters shouldn’t promote controversial opinions and that his feelings about Muslims should stick to “his psychiatrist or his publicist.”
Williams’ swift exit came as a surprise to most, even supporters of his former employer. Fortunately for Williams, Fox News responded to the situation by offering Williams a new $2 million contract.
But Williams was right. You may need a psychiatrist if you’re not nervous when you see Muslims boarding your flight. As O’Reilly made clear on the View, “Muslims killed us on 9/11.”
Islamic extremists are a fringe group of a larger body of Muslims. They are the “Westboro Baptists of Muslims.” Sure, the majority of Muslims probably are not terrorists, but this doesn’t excuse the fact that a segment is. Probably the worst thing is that there can easily be confusion in our perception between Muslims and extremists.
Last weekend. Bombs were found in planes with the destination of Chicago. According to various news reports, the bombs were prepared by al-Quaida with the purpose to cause major damage.
Fast-forward 10 years?