Muslims Wearing Things

King (then Prince) Abdullah of Jordan appears in a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Voyager

A few days ago N.P.R. news analyst appeared on Fox News where he commented that he worries whenever he sees Muslims:

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.
- NPR Ends Williams’ Contract After Muslim Remarks

As noted by the story title, N.P.R. let Williams go after he made those remarks. There’s been a hue (sp?) and cry over this firing, many considering it unfair. As stated by N.P.R., Williams’ contract with N.P.R. requires him to adhere to N.P.R.’s policy on speaking even when he speaks elsewhere. He’s not allowed to do partisan speeches, for instance. N.P.R. wouldn’t approve of expressing irrational fear of Muslims on their network, so he’s not allowed to do it on Fox News either. So they fired him.

Juan Williams has a long history of going beyond what he’s allowed to do by his contract. This is important in my assessment.

I think it’s legitimate to argue that the punishment did not fit the crime. I disagree. But it’s a legitimate argument. Because of his long history of violating N.P.R. policy, this incident is a last straw situation. It’s unfortunate that Juan Williams lost a platform to speak (it is a form of censorship), but I think it is entirely within N.P.R.’s prerogatives.

In the end, Juan Williams suffers very little harm from it anyway, which is unfortunate. He immediately received a $3 million deal from Fox News, so he’s hardly getting screwed over.

One (of many) of the irrational beliefs Juan Williams holds is that someone can tell what a Muslim looks like by his/her Muslim garb. I think you’d be surprised. Muslim women do not all wear burkas. Muslim men do not all wear robes or beards. An anonymous (so far as I know) blogger started a new blog today that is simply titled Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things. It aims to post pictures of Muslims wearing all sorts of clothes. Now perhaps you will look at it and think, Well obviously that’s a Muslim, I can tell. But I think most people will be surprised by how they look. Muslim garb is hardly what people think.