President Obama Slams ‘Yapping’ Over ‘Radical Islam’ And Terrorism

He called it yapping, loose talk, and sloppiness. President Obama dismissed criticism of his administration’s avoidance of the term “radical Islam” and urged America to live up to its founding values Tuesday, speaking at length about inclusiveness and religious freedom.
Obama called out Republicans for criticizing the way he discusses terrorism and extremist groups — which follows the same logic as his Republican predecessor — and he directed particular attention at the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Regarding terms such as “radical Islam” and “radical Islamists,” Obama said, “It’s a political talking point. It’s not a strategy.”
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/14/482041137/president-obama-slams-yapping-over-radical-islam-and-terrorism

Paul Ryan: Trump’s Muslim Ban Not Reflective Of GOP And U.S. Principles

House Speaker Paul Ryan may still be backing the candidacy of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, but the two top-tier Republicans continue to butt heads over Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States.
On Monday, Trump reiterated a broad, religion-based immigration strategy as the best way to protect against future terror attacks. (That’s despite the fact that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a New York City-born American citizen.)
Asked to respond Tuesday morning, Ryan said he stood by previous criticism of Trump’s stance. “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country. I think the smarter way to go, in all respects, is to have a security test and not a religious test.”
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/14/482018791/paul-ryan-trumps-muslim-ban-not-reflective-of-gop-and-u-s-principles

Radical Islam Or Radical Islamism? It Depends Whom You Ask

The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, claimed allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State during a phone call to 911 early Sunday. And that’s reignited a debate over how to label the ideology that apparently inspired the attack.
Republican Donald Trump and many on the right say it’s “radical Islam.” But Democrat Hillary Clinton used a different term: “radical Islamism.” It’s not just a debate over semantics.
“What exactly would using this label accomplish?” President Obama asked Tuesday as he spoke about his administration’s fight against ISIS. He spoke at length about the language debate. “Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/14/482011041/radical-islam-or-radical-islamism-it-depends-who-you-ask

Reports: Gunman Had Visited Nightclub Before, Used Gay Dating Apps

Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla., was reportedly no stranger to the club.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that some Pulse regulars recognized Mateen, saying that he spent time at the nightclub before the shooting early Sunday.
Meanwhile, at least two men say they interacted with Mateen on gay dating apps.
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/14/481986819/reports-gunman-had-visited-nightclub-before-used-gay-dating-apps

Clinton Warns Against ‘Inflammatory, Anti-Muslim Rhetoric’

The day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton warned against the possibility of future attacks and went after Donald Trump for “inflammatory” rhetoric.
“The threat is metastasizing,” Clinton said in a speech in Cleveland. “We saw this in Paris, and we saw it in Brussels. We face a twisted ideology and poisoned psychology that inspires the so-called lone wolves: radicalized individuals who may or may not have contact and direction from any formal organization.”
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/13/481896759/clinton-the-threat-is-metastasizing

Trump Calls To Ban Immigration From Countries With ‘Proven History Of Terrorism’

Responding to the Orlando shootings in a New Hampshire speech Monday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump used the appearance to expand on his previous call to temporarily ban all Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
“The only reason the killer was in America in the first place is because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said. “That is a fact, and a fact we need to talk about.”
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/2016/06/13/481910989/trump-expands-immigration-ban-to-countries-with-proven-history-of-terrorism

Fictional group, Muslim Education Action Center Trust, used to set up a NPR executive

NPR has been jolted by the release of a videotape that showed one of the organization’s fund-raising executives repeatedly criticizing Republicans and Tea Party supporters during a meeting with a fictional group.

The executive, Ronald Schiller, was recorded secretly by the Republican filmmaker and mischief-maker James O’Keefe. On the videotape, Mr. Schiller tells people posing as Muslim philanthropists that the Republican party has been “hijacked” by the Tea Party and that Tea Party supporters are “seriously racist, racist people.” Mr. Schiller indicates that he is sharing his personal point of view, not NPR’s.

Mr. Schiller was essentially set up by Mr. O’Keefe, who has become well-known for such stunts. The people he is heard talking to on the videotape are posing as members of the Muslim Education Action Center Trust, a fictional group. They falsely claim that they want to donate up to $5 million to public media.

Islamophobia and Homophobia

Playing the homophobia card is costlier than playing the Islamophobia card. Or at least, the costs are more evenly spread across the political spectrum. Suppose Williams had said something hurtful to gay people instead of to Muslims. Suppose he had said gay men give him the creeps because he fears they’ll make sexual advances. NPR might well have fired him, but would Fox News have chosen that moment to give him a $2-million pat on the back?

As Islamophobia grows, it alienates Muslims, raising the risk of homegrown terrorism — and homegrown terrorism heightens the Islamophobia, which alienates more Muslims, and so on: a vicious circle that could carry America into the abyss. So it’s worth taking a look at why homophobia is fading; maybe the underlying dynamic is transplantable to the realm of inter-ethnic prejudice.

Theories differ as to what it takes for people to build bonds across social divides, and some theories offer more hope than others. One of the less encouraging theories grows out of the fact that both homophobia and Islamophobia draw particular strength from fundamentalist Christians.

Juan Williams, Islamophobia, and Journalistic Fairness

Jamil Khader
October 26, 2010

Should Juan Williams have been forced to resign after his unfortunate remarks about “Muslim garb”? Although I believe that something should have been done, I’m not sure firing him was the right answer. NPR could have taken him at his own word, demanding that he lives up to his “I’m not a bigot, but . . . ” remark… [continue reading]

Juan Williams, Islamophobia, and Journalistic Fairness

By Jamil Khader
Stetson University, Florida

Should Juan Williams have been forced to resign after his unfortunate remarks about “Muslim garb”? Although I believe that something should have been done, I’m not sure firing him was the right answer. NPR could have taken him at his own word, demanding that he lives up to his “I’m not a bigot, but . . . ” remark. Instead of turning this into an opportunity to confront the mostly irrational fears many Americans have about Islam and Muslims, NPR perhaps inadvertently fueled that fear even more. While he could have been easily turned into an ally in the fight against prejudice in all its forms, Williams is now instead basking with a 2 million dollar contract with Fox news.

First of all, we have to acknowledge the existence of this visceral fear that many Americans have about Islam and Muslims after 9/11, while at
the same time insist that public discourse must remain rational and devoid of absurd statement like the ones Mr. Williams has made. Mr. Williams is entitled to his own emotional visceral response, but he could have found a more productive way of articulating that fear. As a Muslim myself, I’m not really sure what Williams means by “Muslim garb” especially, since none of the 9/11 terrorists was wearing anything remotely close to the stereotypical Islamic garb Mr. Williams had in mind. In fact, from what I clearly remember of the security feed, these terrorists looked completely western. Nothing about their clothes was Islamic. Moreover, I have not come across any criminologist or sociologist who has made a link between clothing and criminal behavior, not even among Goth teens and tattooed bikers. Mr. Williams’ bias against Arabs and Muslims is clearly irrational, making it, in the words of the conservative republican commentator, Andrew Sullivan, “anti-religious bigotry in its purest, clearest form.”

By pandering to O’Reilly, Mr. Williams has unfortunately contributed to the demonization of all Muslims, those who are for him total strangers—they do not look like us and, therefore, they terrify us just by their looks. What makes this dangerous and irresponsible on his part is that Muslims are the most maligned ethnic/religious groups in the US today, and that his comments, or most of the bigoted comments that are continuously streamed in the media and public culture, could not have been made about any other ethnic or religious group in the country. It would be instructive to examine the reaction of those who came to Williams’ defense with and against the firestorm of condemnation and protest following the bigoted comments recently made by other journalists such as Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, and Octavia Nasr. As salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald states, “If we’re going to fire or otherwise punish people for expressing prohibited ideas against various groups, it’s long overdue that those standards be applied equally to anti-Muslim animus, now easily one of the most — if not the single most — pervasive, tolerated and dangerous forms of blatant bigotry in America.” It is not really difficult to understand the reason why Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Pam Geller, Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich, among others, stayed silent when Thomas, Sanchez, and Nasr, but not Williams, were forced to resign. Again, our culture today condones racist and insensitive comments about Muslims, but not about other groups. Muslims, it seems, have not been granted entry into the gates of PC culture.

Unlike other recent cases of conspicuous journalistic bigotry, Williams’ remarks subtly condoned and legitimized prejudice against Muslims. What he seems to say to O’Reilly, in fact, is that the latter is certainly justified in his view of all Muslims as potential terrorists. Having publicly expressed such bigotry, Williams has lost all the credibility, fairness and objectivity that are the foundations of his profession (but obviously in some news outlets like Fox news this does not matter). Should he have been forced to resign over one comment? He clearly violated his employer’s ethical code, but he should have been at least given a chance to explain himself. More importantly, NPR like all other power institutions in the country cannot just demand from American citizens to be sensitive to diversity without providing them with the necessary training and the tools to deal with such touchy topics with the sensitivity and cross-cultural competence needed. Such an educational effort requires the continuous planning, cooperation and investment of everyone not through one diversity training session or day, but throughout the year. As one educator said, “Diversity is everybody’s everyday work.”