A reader writes:
The idea that NPR would fired Juan Williams is not at all a surprise to me. The reason they did it now seems like a convenient excuse or perhaps the final straw that broke the camel's back. For a very long time, Juan has been causing much ire around the NPR offices and with their listeners for his appearances (and statements, of course) on Fox News. See here and here. And plenty more examples can be found with a simple Google search.
What I found really disconcerting about what Williams said is his reference to the wearing of traditional garb as “identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims”.
He makes it sound as though wearing those clothes is a deliberate choice by the individuals to signal that they consider their Muslim identity to be the most important aspect of their person. No - these are their normal or regular clothes. There may well be a religious basis for some aspects of the clothing, but I’m sure those individuals were wearing that garb because that is what they wear! If Juan Williams were to travel to the Middle East on assignment, would some local newsperson say that Juan’s business suit and tie was his way of identifying himself first and foremost as a Christian? Do we say that a Jew wearing a yarmulke is doing so in order to identify himself first and foremost as a Jew? Of course not. Williams imputes some sinister political motivation to the wearing of traditional Muslim garb; this is what really reveals his prejudice.