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Beware of fatwa, take 2

Today’s Washington Post reports: “WMAL suspends talk-show host for comment on Islam.” The talk-show host is Michael Graham, and his comment referred to Islam as “the problem” and as a “terrorist organization.” The Post reports:

CAIR denounced the comments as “hate-filled” and asked its members to contact the station’s advertisers to express their dismay. Several hundred people across the country sent e-mails to the station and some of its advertisers, said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director.
“I think this action is long overdue and appropriate,” Hooper said of Graham’s suspension. “I think it’s a testament to the determination of individual Muslims who contacted the station and its advertisers to say Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry are unacceptable.”

Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR draws a connection between comments by talk show hosts like Graham and the fatwa that was issued under CAIR’s auspices yesterday: “ABC Disney gives in to CAIR.” The Post’s Tuesday story on Graham’s comments seems to support Whitehead’s observation: “Muslims call comments by WMAL host hate-filled.” The Post quotes CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper:

“The First Amendment allows people to be idiots and bigots. All you can do is embarrass people and have them defend their reputation. If WMAL doesn’t feel embarrassed and doesn’t want to defend its reputation in the face of anti-Muslim bigotry, then there’s not much we can do about it.”

CAIR has been remarkably effective in “embarrassing” companies into enforcing the boundaries of acceptable discourse on the subject. The Post’s Tuesday article also quotes Graham:

“If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 Scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization. If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder — and the scoutmasters responded by saying ‘Could be’ — the Boy Scouts would have been driven out of America long ago.
“Today, Islam has whole sects and huge mosques that preach terror. Its theology is openly used to give the murderers their motives. Millions of its members give these killers comfort. The question isn’t how dare I call Islam a terrorist organization, but rather why more people do not.”

As of Monday, this was the station’s position:

[WMAL] station manager] Bloomquist said his station had received more than 100 e-mails protesting Graham’s comments, many of them, he said, apparently generated by CAIR’s e-mails to its members. He went on to defend Graham, saying, “Remember that this is talk radio. We don’t do the dainty minuet of the newspaper editorial page. It’s not ‘Washington Week in Review.’ It depends on pungent statements to drive it. Michael is rattling the cage. It’s designed to start and further a conversation, and it has certainly done that.”

As for me, I’m in favor of “the dainty minuet” of Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes on this subject. I don’t agree with Graham that Islam is a terrorist organization. Moreover, in a related context, Paul has wisely pointed out the inutility of metaphorical condemnations. Here Graham’s metaphor drastically overstates his point, but Graham is not making up the underlying problem.
Should the guy be fired for expressing his views? If you think that there should be room for Graham’s blunderbuss on talk radio, Jewish World Review editor Binyamin Jokolvsky writes:

I set up a page for folks to write the station (here).
Can you help him. We need the blogosphere onto this!

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