“As the sled of what is considered offensive to Islam hurdles down the hill, plowing over the First Amendment as it goes, it is not a question if something else will be seen as offensive, but merely what will be seen as offensive. The next time, it may not be the Dove World Outreach Center. It may be you. Or me. Remember, the slippery slope starts somewhere!” From The Slippery Slope Starts Somewhere, published on 9/9/10
That didn’t take long. With the firing of Juan Williams, for allegedly anti-Muslim remarks, we are witnessing the continued assault on our First Amendment freedoms by radical Islamists and their liberal elite friends in the media and government. I knew that any direct or overt criticism of Islam (even the radical kind) would eventually be considered offensive and off-limits. (Of course, direct and overt criticism of Christianity is always welcome and never off-limits, but that’s another story.) Who knew that not just our words, but even our feelings would be considered offensive to Islam?
If you are not paying attention to what happened to Juan Williams this week, then you need to start. Williams was fired from his job as an analyst at National Public Radio. While I have no doubt that the far-left radicals who run NPR have been itching for a reason to fire Williams for some time now, mainly based on the fact that he appears on the hated Fox News Channel, the powers-that-be at NPR came under increasing pressure from one particular group this week who agitated for Williams’ firing. And fire him they did.
Who is that group? None other than the wonderful folks at the Council for American Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR. CAIR, itself an organization with links Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups, including Hamas, said of the comments made by Williams:
“NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR.”
What exactly did Juan Williams say that was so “irresponsible and inflammatory?” I would really like to know what his offense was, because I surely would not want to be guilty of such bigoted and hateful feelings myself. Williams said:
“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.”
What Juan Williams described is the nervousness and worry that I and countless other Americans (of all nationalities and religions, including, I would daresay, some Arabs and/or Muslims) have when we fly today. That nervousness or worry, whether or not you think it is rational or not, is always present for many airline passengers today.
It should come as no great surprise why that is, but liberal elites at NPR and their cohorts at CAIR (and in our own federal government) feign ignorance as to why people get nervous when they fly. What was unimaginable before 9/11 is very much imaginable today. What we did not have to worry about pre-9/11 we must worry about today. If there was nothing to worry about, then we wouldn’t need body scanners at the security checkpoint in airports nor would we have to practically disrobe before going through said body scanners.
And, as the most recent (thankfully) failed attempt of detonating a bomb aboard an in-bound flight in Detroit and the failed Times Square bombing clearly remind us, we are still vulnerable to a major terrorist attack. And these attacks, while they could be committed by 70 year-old Anglo grandmothers, ARE committed by young, radicalized Muslims (including Ft. Hood shooter Nadal Hasan, if you consider 40 “young”).
Does that mean that all Muslims are terrorists? Of course not. Does that mean that all Muslims hate America and want to see terrorist acts committed on our soil? Absolutely not. Should “all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim legitimately be viewed as security threats” as CAIR alleges that Williams said (which he did not)? No, they should not.
But, let me share my own experience in flying with those I perceived to be Muslim (or at least Middle Eastern). Several years ago, I was on a plane with my family traveling between Lexington, KY and Houston, TX. On board the plane were two young, Middle Eastern looking men. Both were wearing bulky coats, which was a bit strange, considering the warmer weather that we were experiencing. The two men did not take off their coats the entire trip, which was also unusual as it was rather warm in the plane.
Throughout the course of the flight, the two young men, who were sitting in different rows (one ahead and one behind) began passing packages back and forth. These were wrapped packages, so there was nothing that could be retrieved from the packages without actually opening them up. This package swap continued, off and on, for the better part of the flight. Needless to say, I did not close my eyes the entire trip. Obviously I cannot be sure, but I believe that these two young men knew that their behavior, even if innocent, was making other passengers extremely uncomfortable. Was I nervous and worried that something might happen during the flight? Yes. Was my worry unfounded? Perhaps, but I was not taking any chances that day.
Contrast that with a Muslim family (mom, dad, two kids) traveling from El Paso, TX to Orlando or Tampa. I have been on numerous flights where Middle Eastern families were fellow passengers. Sometimes, the women would be dressed in Muslim attire. Did I view these families differently than the two young men on the other flight? Absolutely. Did I keep a watchful eye on the Muslim family with the Walt Disney bags and Mickey Mouse ears? If my closed eyes count, then I suppose I did.
You see, context matters. One situation caused me to have feelings of worry and anxiety. The other did not. Maybe I shouldn’t have been worried about the two young men, but I was. Were my feelings of worry and anxiety (mainly of flying, but exacerbated by the strange behavior of two young Middle Eastern looking men) bigoted? I don’t think any more than Juan Williams’ feelings. And, I don’t think that the feelings he expressed were bigoted.
But, add feelings to the list of those things that are now subject to scrutiny by the Islamist lobby in this country. First actions (South Park). Then words (Franklin Graham). Now feelings (Juan Williams). But, where will it end, especially in regards to Islam? Your guess is as good as mine. If CAIR and NPR keep getting their way, most Americans — both conservatives and even a few liberals — may no longer be able to recognize the First Amendment. Remember, the slippery slope always starts somewhere!