Political commentator Juan Williams, who has long been involved in the civil rights community with his writings and work on African American history, has just been fired by National Public Radio for expressing his views about Islamic clothing.
Williams said on the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox News Channel that he is not prejudiced against the Islamic faith, but that it strikes fear in his heart when he sees people in full Islamic clothing on airplanes, as it brings back memories of September 11, 2001.
Such a statement is purely freedom of speech; it is not expressing anti Islamic hatred, as many others have done.
It is a common thought of many Americans because of the events of September 11, as it makes many Americans uncomfortable.
It is not stating that Muslims should not be free to wear such garb. It is just an opinion and expression of a fear which is quite common.
Juan Williams is a quality journalist, and firing him is unjustified! It does not make NPR look very good, as it is stifling freedom of speech!
This is not the same as Rick Sanchez being fired by CNN for his anti Semitic comments about Jews in the media, and perceived discrimination against Hispanics in the media, including himself!
If one is a journalist, and cannot express his thoughts in a non hateful way on a cable or television or radio channel without fear of losing his job, then we have really become a nation where civil liberties itself is under attack!
And since NPR has a reputation as a “liberal” or “progressive” channel, it is especially reprehensible to be seen as intolerant, and lacking an open mind to allow a diversity of opinion!
NPR has done the wrong thing, and it should reverse itself and rehire Juan Williams, and recognize what he is: a quality journalist who deserves respect for his non hateful opinions!