When a journalist takes a job at the Fox News Network, does the agreement state he or she must throw out all objectivity for a paycheck signed by Rupert Murdock? It seems thatâ€™s what has happened to Juan Williams, a once respected news analyst for NPR and a Fox News contributor.
When Bill Oâ€™Reilly said, â€œMuslims killed us on 9/11â€ on The View, Juan Williams backed Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s assertion by stating on Foxâ€™s Oâ€™Reilly Factor, â€œWhen 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.â€
This was an islamophobic rally cry on Juan Williamsâ€™ part as he heartily contributed to the nightly Muslim-bashing on the Fox News Network. He did not apologize, and NPR terminated him last week stating, â€œHis remarks on The Oâ€™Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.â€
I will be writing a check to my local NPR station for this seasonâ€™s pledge drive.
Itâ€™s a fact that not one of the terrorists who ever tried or succeeded to harm people on a plane was dressed in â€œMuslim garbâ€. Itâ€™s like comedian/activist Azhar Usman said several years ago in his comedy act, â€œIf I was a crazy, fundamentalist terrorist Muslim about to hijack a plane, this probably wouldnâ€™t be the disguise Iâ€™d go with,â€ referring to his beard and Islamic prayer cap.
Like an observant Jew who wears a yarmulke, or a faithful Christian woman who wears a cross around her neck, Muslims also have symbols of their faith, and some, like the womanâ€™s hijab, are believed to be requirements of the faith. A display of oneâ€™s beliefs should not be deemed a lack of patriotism, or a security threat.
Any person of any faith will identify himself as a believer first, and a patriot second. When I wear my modest attire, including a scarf on my head, I am saying â€œGod and Countryâ€ — in that order. When you see me or any of my fellow American Muslims on the street, in the marketplace, workplace or even boarding a plane, you should know we are exactly who we say we are, Muslims and Americans. We are being truthful about who we are and what we believe. Whatâ€™s scary about that?
Muslims are part of the American landscape. Weâ€™re not going anywhere. I am a patriotic, multi-generation American who also happens to be a Muslim, and I for one will not change or bend my beliefs and practices because it may help someone else feel more comfortable. Iâ€™ll continue to endure the hateful stares when I fly, but my fellow passengers can rest easy; Iâ€™ve only got hair under my scarf.