Friday, October 22, 2010

More On The Firing Of Juan Williams

From today's Washington Post:
...The firing of Williams, who is also a paid commentator with Fox News, sparked a heated argument over political correctness -- and calls for the public "defunding" of NPR -- that is, in part, obscuring a more necessary debate: How do you approach the problem of Islamic militancy in the West and in the Middle East? President Obama, who has had innumerable briefings on the threats posed by al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups, has chosen to dial down American rhetoric (it was actually pretty tame under President George W. Bush) in the hope that average Muslims, wherever they may be, will view the United States as more friend than foe, and help Washington combat "violent extremism."

This friendly approach is probably, unfortunately, counterproductive.So far, it's unlikely that Muslim self-criticism -- our ultimate salvation from Islamic holy warriors -- has improved under Obama. Judging by the satellite channel Al-Jazeera, a vibrant hodgepodge of all things Arab, the opposite current, fed by Western self-doubt, appears to be gaining force. By being nice, we suggest that nothing within "Islam" -- by which I mean the 1,400-year-old evolving marriage of faith, culture and politics -- is terribly wrong. By being kind, we fail to provoke controversy among Muslims about why so many Muslims from so many lands have called suicide bombers against Western targets "martyrs" and not monsters. Worst of all, by being considerate we fail to echo the great Muslim dissidents, deeply religious men such as the Iranians Abdolkarim Soroush and Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, who see that something has gone very wrong within their country and their civilization. The president would do well to be more nuanced in his outreach to the Muslim world, giving more sustenance to those who see its systemic problems.

It is not surprising, however, that some Westerners are having a more vivid debate about Islam's travails than most Muslims are having. Williams may not be a student of Islam, but he's got good eyes and a decent heart. Would that the executives at NPR were as perspicacious and liberal.
About the author of the above:
Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and author of the forthcoming book "The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East."
Could it be that the firing of Juan Williams from NPR will backfire on Obama too?

1 comment:

revereridesagain said...

The idiot ombudsman at NPR, Alicia Shepard, has taken the "it was handled badly BUT" line, claiming that NPR was just "upholding its journalistic standards". No, I have no idea what those are supposed to be, and probably neither does Ms. Shepard, who is probably a bit punchy and deaf in one ear from all the screaming over the phone since yesterday. Also pulled the "well what if" card with the following: "I can only imagine how Williams... would have reacted if another prominent journalist had said: 'But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see an African American male in Dashiki with a big Afro, I get worried, I get nervous.'"

Williams called the caricature "stupid".

(If I saw a A-A guy in a big Afro I'd assume there was a '70s nostalgia festival going on somewhere.)

Emailing Shepard was a waste of time, I should have got in line and called the bitch and at least had the satisfaction of her actually hearing all the screaming I did at the computer screen.