Connect with us

Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Juan Williams: O’Reilly’s Colin Powell? A teachable moment or a civil rights ‘slam dunk’?




Was Juan Williams FOX’s ‘Collin Powell’ (the sacrificial person with credibility) in what looks to have been a scripted covering for O’Reilly after Bill’s controversial appearance on The View? O’Reilly is after all the quintessential FOX host.

In my view this is another case of the Muslim community getting caught in the crossfire of other people’s issues.

Muslims and Islam are like the ball that is smacked back in forth in the ping pong match between ideologues on the left and the right. It is clear that NPR and Williams had a contentious relationship and this seems like Williams’ statement (text below) was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Williams said: “Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But 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’re identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

You can watch the clip and read the transcript here.

Any time someone says “I am not a bigot,” you’d better hold on to your seats because a stupid statement is normally the next thing to come out of their mouths. Just remember Glenn Beck and Congressman Ellison.

What Juan said is deplorable and still, the reality is that a lot of people feel the same way.

Clearly popular opinion is not always equal to being correct, moral or just. It is also true that the real audience in a situation like this is made up of members of both the Muslim and the non-Muslim communities.

Was this a civil rights slam dunk? Will we chalk this up as a victory?

Ultimately, it is not Bill O’Reilly or Juan Williams that matters; it is the millions of viewers who need to see Muslims in a positive light. American Muslims cannot afford to play to an emotional base of supporters when we are so misunderstood by our neighbors.

The sooner that the Muslim community understands that peoples’ fear of us needs to be dealt constructively and with something beyond just calling it bigotry the better. As a community we need to promote ways to help people overcome these false fears about us.

Was Juan Williams’ admission of fear a teachable moment that was missed?  Here are two leading Muslim organizations MPAC’s and CAIR’s statements on the issue. Of the two stances whose was better?

To be fair it must be noted that CAIR’s statement came before Williams was fired and did not specify a particular action and MPAC’s statement is a reaction to his firing.

View CAIR’s release here:

View MPAC’s release here:

Can you point to a better way?

I believe as a community we should have denied both the left and the right the chance to put us in their crosshairs by following Islam 101 in our actions.

Our Prophet turned so many of his enemies into friends and supporters. This situation is a lot like the hadith of the man who urinated in the Prophet’s Masjid. We, through our leadership, could have sat Williams down and said this is an inappropriate place to do this. Your remarks are wrong, here is why and you are legitimizing those very fears that you in the same segment hinted are wrong.

We have to see our coverage on national and local media as strategic opportunities to reach a primarily non-Muslim audience. This is because we as Muslims are only 2% of the population and many of us are not regular media consumers anyway. Furthermore, we can reach our own community through our own channels. Quite frankly we also need to come to grips with the fact that most non-Muslims are not really all that interested in us other than to know if we are a threat or not.

If our media spots are indeed seen as opportunities for the community’s advancement then we need to have both a strategy and a tactical objective for each exposure. The objectives should be mainstreaming the knowledge of the orthodox teachings of Islam (not allowing the promotion of the lies of Gellar, Spencer and their ilk) and breaking down the gatekeepers monopoly on who gets coverage that prevents truly representative voices from Muslim communities to represent us (not the Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and etc… types).

To do that we have to send better messages than just that we are upset over peoples ignorance… which is the perceived dominate message we send. Yes, the media doesn’t often cover the positive stuff we do — but it is what it is — so it is up to us to be smarter and more effective and to do more of our own productions and ads.

The call for NPR to act was only half the job, and the second half at that. What Muslim organizations could have done is to rally with Sikh and other faith leaders (interfaith because of the garb angle) as well as other minority groups that face profiling with a offer to educate. In the same release highlight the photos of all the airline hijackers because they CLEARLY were NOT in ‘Muslim garb’ and then asked BOTH FOX and NPR for airtime to address the issue. If any party did not respond, then as a community we should escalate the issue.

We cannot let bigotry go unanswered. However, this is easily being morphed into another free-speech issue (falsely) that is being framed around the perception that the Muslim community is limiting what people can express and now the new twist what we can even feel.

Below are a few interesting links. Muslim Matters is not responsible for the slants of these articles. These links are to articles that this author believe’s demonstrates the wide range of angles and views that are often outside the dominate coverage.

Sound off with your thoughts on how this was handled or how it should have been handled and why.

Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations. Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.



  1. Avatar

    Abu Yusuf

    October 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    What I don’t understand is why has not anyone spotlighted this incident with what happened with CNN’s anchor Rick Sanchez?

    Are there double standards here? (of course there is).

    Why does not Fox News offer Rick Sanchez a new contract claiming free speech.

    I would think it would be important from one angle to talk about that incident as well with this one, since it happened no less then a month ago

    • Avatar


      October 23, 2010 at 10:19 PM

      You are right that the attackers wore different clothes than what Williams spoke about. Yet, every time that Bin Laden, al-Awlaki, al-Zawahiri, and Gadahn appear on a video they are in the clothing that Williams was talking about. It’s bad enough these four and their co-horts cover an even wider array of looks with their clothing makes their fear-mongering all that more potent around the world. Odds are that the videos of these four criminals and war mongers wear are what stick in the minds of people like Williams.

      • Avatar

        Mansoor Ansari

        November 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM


        Likewise should Muslims around the world distrust those who wear western clothing esp suits as the war mongers & war criminals like Bush & Blair dress up in suits?

    • Avatar

      Yasir Azim

      October 24, 2010 at 10:43 PM

      Offcourse there are double standards watch this News on CNN,BBC, or FOXnoise.

      Tony Blair’s sister-in-law “Lauren Booth” converts to Islam. (On Oct25,2010 Geo News).

      Say Allahu Akbar.

      Please let me know if any of these news chennel broadcast this news any time soon.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Juan Williams: O’Reilly’s Colin Powell? A teachable moment or a civil rights ‘slam dunk’? | --

  3. Avatar

    Sabour Al-Kandari

    October 23, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Excellent work, mash’Allah.

    One of the biggest issues is that a lot of non-us voices have a megaphone (mass media) while we still only have our regular voices to use. At the end of the day, all we’re doing is befriending people close enough to hear us with the neighborly/local stuff but there’s a whole crowd of everyone else who’s public opinion we simply can’t shape.

    It’s tantamount for mainstream Muslims to constantly hound any media outlets for a chance to get some air time, MM on CNN was a good start. The superstar scholars/dai’ees should be doing media rounds relentlessly. If someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali can get away with getting THAT much exposure, surely the time is overdue for Yasir Qadhi or Hamzah Yusuf to have been on the Daily Show?

  4. Avatar


    October 23, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    I believe what has happened is cyclical.

    1. Group is discriminated against.
    2. Mainstream recognition that group is being discriminated against
    3. Strong reaction to any form of discrimination
    4. Discrimination becomes politically incorrect
    5. Discrimination lessens, overreactions lessen, group integrates, all other discrimination is closeted

    I think we’re coming upon step 3 now (The View, NPR, and others).

    I think the way forward is to aggressively frame the issues as we see it.


  5. Amad


    October 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    I have been following this issue quite closely because it is in fact extremely important and I am so glad you tackled it, esp. since this is wherein your expertise lies.

    What has become obvious is that hating on muslims is not only cool, but clearly profitable. And you cannot apply the same standards to muslims as you apply to jews, blacks and even gays for the most part. We saw this with octavio, sanchez, the old lady at the white house, and so on and so forth.

    I was quite sure that as soon as this guy got fired, he hit the jackpot. The npr action felt good but moments such as these are fleeting for muslims, and overall did Muslims come out better off or worse off. And your article gives some hints to the answer.

    I know this has nothing to do with what a lot of what you wrote Iesa, so it is a tangential rant :)

  6. Avatar

    Safia Farole

    October 23, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    This is a very constructive article and I hope that we Muslim Americans as a collective can take the proposed actions. I totally agree with the point that this has again turned into a situation in which Muslims appear to be trying to limit free speech. I think the part about aligning with other minorties such as Sikhs who also face dress problems at the airport is a practicle step that we need to take (if CAIR or MPAC hasn’t already done so).

    I have one question though – why is it that mainstream orthodox scholars have a hard time getting on these shows? Is it because they are not making themselves available to be contacted or is it because the media is not seeking them out? I’ve always wanted to know how this works out.

    • Avatar

      Mustafa Stefan Dill

      October 24, 2010 at 2:15 AM

      to answer your question, if I may: I think its both, and each action reinforces the other. There is a reticence among Muslims to engage with the media that can range from shyness to public disdain, and so the media in turn won’t seek out potential sources who’ve demonstrated that kind of behavior. It’ a lose-lose situation, and we cut our own throats in the process. See the series here on Reclaiming the Perceptions Of Muslims– Parts 2 and 3, upcoming, will explore the Muslim/media relationship at length.

      • Avatar

        Safia Farole

        October 24, 2010 at 1:59 PM

        Thank you for referencing me to that article br. It answered alot of my questions. I hope we can mobilize toward these solutions together as a community.

  7. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    October 23, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Brother Iesa:

    Recently, Have you offered any of your thoughtful ideas to CAIR or any other Muslim media groups?

    I really do think that the messages we are sending need to take more than one approach….clarify, defend, and most importantly educate…

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 24, 2010 at 2:24 PM

      My series Islamophobia is stupid is geared at all Muslim thought leaders. I get the sense that many of you share my perception that our messaging is counter-productive.

      I’d like to ask everyone to check out that series. In the upcoming installment(s) we will explore many of the ways forward that have been hinted at here and in other articles.


  8. Avatar


    October 23, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    I am not a Muslum, but I thought you might like an outsiders view. Incidents like Mr. Williams does not help your cause, it only enforces the devide and multiplies the hate. The more you draw attention to Biggots the worse the devide will get. Now not only has Mr. Williams hit the jackpot, but now NPR will likely lose federal funding which means biggots win. Please try ignoring biggotry, try understanding people do not understand that by placing all Muslims and grouping them with terrorist is the same as saying all Christians are terrorist like Timmothy McVay or the Westboro Baptist Church members. You are right saying education is the key, also try to be understanding of peoples feelings show them you truly care. Like the Muslim Community center in Mannhatten. It may be better to say we care about peoples feelings so we will try to move or relocate it. Such as Mr. Williams, maybe instead of saying we want him fired, you should have contacted Fox for an appearance maybe of an Imam to ask Mr. Williams why he was scared? This would show your point of view and this would look much better for Muslims and give you a chance to denounce terrorism and educate the public. Try not to show any intollerance toward biggots, greet them with a hug and a handshake. Sure you have rights, everyone has rights but if you want the misconseptions to end you show more tollorance at least in the near future. Don’t try to force your ways as people will resist you more, the hate will increase and the devide will widen. I am just giving you a outsiders opinion.
    This country has been devided to long!

    • Avatar


      October 23, 2010 at 5:12 PM

      Don I guess we muslims should silence our way into the concentration camps like the palestinians. I guess – edited – (please refrain from personal attacks) racist – edited – would have ended slavery sooner if Martin Luther King has not protested. (NOTE: the Jim Crow apartheid system is what MLK fought… not slavery)

      The only way to end racism is to point out the racist. Attacking, murdering, muslims all over the world has become a trillion dollar hobby – edited – off topic.

  9. Avatar


    October 23, 2010 at 5:02 PM



    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 23, 2010 at 9:28 PM


      I understand you are making a point about double standards, but why the ALL CAPS shouting at our readers? Look this is obviously a emotional issue. Please remember that many of us are also frustrated with the situations that we find our brothers and sisters in faith in. But also remember that not every non-Muslim is a foe. In fact, since you are addressing Americans, you should know that the vast majority of Americans are good people just trying to pay their bills and feed their families.

      “Allah’s Apostle said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” Hadith – Al-Bukhari 8.135

      Shouting at folks does endear people to listen to your positions. Conversations have to be two way.

      “Those who spend [in Allâh’s Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn (the good doers).” Qur’an 3:134

      Let’s stay civil and on topic from here on out, OK?


  10. Avatar

    Linda (part II)

    October 23, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    You know whats really getting to me? Fox news signing a 2 year contract with him for almost 84,000 a MONTH… Thats more than what I would make in a freaking year!!!!!!

    Its like he is being rewarded for saying what he said!

    And yes, I take my hat off for what NPR did… they h ave shown that it is not okay to discriminate against Muslims in a public forum like FOX news. I mean, if a sikh wore his turban or if a jew wore his yamaka does that make them less american? nonsense. June Williams is an idiot and he deserves being publicly humiliated.

    And yea… whatever happened to Sanchez? He pinpointed a fact that the American media is controlled by the jews… is that so offensive? and if so, is it as offensive as accusing all Muslims who choose to wear their traditional dress to be “terrorists”?

    They are nothing but jerks with double standards!


  11. Avatar


    October 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    By the you speak, Maybe I should start watching Fox News, Maybe Mr. Williams was correct in his views? I can see by your attitude you do not want to get along in this world. You want to KILL the Infindels! I was trying to be understanding and polite, I was trying to get you to understand trying to silence biggotry is the wrong way. To eliminate biggotry by education was a better way. That is ok, you just showed me the truth! You showed me you do not want to try to live with Christians. You want to silence them the way the Jews try to silence you. I can see now Muslims do not want peace, they want to rule! I will not clutter up your message board anymore with my posts. I have learned all I need to know!

  12. Pingback: Quotes of the moment: Muslims on NPR’s Williams incident as a teachable moment | MULTI-AMERICAN

  13. Avatar

    Murabitun Takruri

    October 23, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Salamu Alaykum,

    Don……i understand your point and your advice. However because of one comment you should not jump to the conclusion that muslims are all about hate and they don’t want to get along with anyone in this world. Its the opposite. Muslims have lived with christians and others peacefully side by side for generations. Its just that latetly, muslims and Islam have become the laughing stock and it became a fair game for anyone to target or defame the muslims on live television. What do you expect that we do??? your solution is to ignore them, or ignore the bigots. Well we can’t because they have the mic and media. Will you give the same advice to African Americans during the slavery or civil rights era to just ignore the bigots. I don’t think so!!!
    If it was Anti Semitic for Sanchez to say that the media is run by jews then it is anti-islam , muslims and islamaphobic for Williams to say his comments. Sanchez quit or got fired i am not sure but the same needs to happen for Williams. Why will he get away with it? There should be a limit to free speech. You can’t say whatever you want and defame, humuliate, insult, degrade others and then call it free speech!!!
    If anyone says anything negative about jewish people or Israil, they are stripped away of eveyrthing and they are called anti-semitic but if someone else says something clearly insulting, degrading, defaming about muslims and Islam its called free speech.
    You said to educate the bigots but they will never give you the chance to do that. We see all the time that they invite those who do not represent mainstream muslims to speak about Islam and muslims. The so called progressive and moderate muslims who misrepresent the majority. That’s what they want. They will never invite Dr. ZAKIR NAIK or the important scholars of Islam to speak and explain and educate because its simply not their Agenda.

    I thank you for your politeness Don.
    p.s. About the mosque issue in New York, its not muslims position to accomodate the islamaphobe and move an islamic center that happens to have a prayer area which is what it really is, just so that the islamaphobe feel better and a little comfortable. Muslims haven’t done anything to them. They can built a masjid or a center whatever they like just like any other faith in America has the right. This center has to show that Islam has nothing to do with what happen in 9/11.

    • Avatar


      October 23, 2010 at 9:37 PM

      I do apologize for my last post, but like I stated before this did not help, it just added to the misconceptions about Islam. Also Muslims who post, like the above does not help your cause. Like the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afganistan, Muslims must realize that most Americans would like to leave them alone but we have tried to change, We elected a president that stated I will bring the troops home, I will close the prison at GB.

      I cannot help it if he lied, I supported him on his statements. Most Americans never hear about how Israil has over stepped all bounderies, and yet our government still supports them. People has to realize hate breeds hate, and violence breeds violence. By trying to squelch the people who fear you, even if there fear is unwarranted does not help. You still must find ways to educate people and give them time to adjust. This will ultimately in up in the last great war, seriously if we cannot find a way. I do understand your situation, I live in an area where people are refered to as hicks, hicky, inbreeds, uneducated ect. My state has tried for years to correct this misconception and still this year recently we are still viewed as HICKY. Instead of getting upset we just say to people come and see who we really are. We are educated people, mountain people, and we are skilled people. Our governor in the past has gotten some movie producers fired for trying to make movies of our hickyness. But that was not just one line on a news channel. Thank you for your kindness, like I said see how well this worked? We actually had some civilized dialog.

      • Avatar


        October 23, 2010 at 10:26 PM

        Peace be upon you.! and Goodbye

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      October 23, 2010 at 9:45 PM

      Walaikum Asalaam,

      A couple of points:

      People ARE free to “defame, humuliate, insult, degrade others” however employers and the society at large are also free to disagree and act on that disagreement.

      In my mind the free speech angle is a non-starter as: 1) he was fired not jailed our fined, 2) NPR seemed to be looking for a reason, 3) Williams was and is defending his comments & 4) frankly as bigoted as what he said was it was at least a moment of admittance… meaning that just as a 12 step program makes you admit a problem we could have seen Williams as doing the same. On that note O’Reilly was trying to justify NOT being specific in an attempt to make room to defame groups claiming that it is known that he doesn’t mean all Muslims…

      Lastly, nothing is stopping us (American Muslims) from building our own presence in the media. We got work to do! :)


  14. Avatar

    Bin Muhsin

    October 23, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    It seems like we as Muslims assume that we need to get a hold of the media spotlight and put the record straight about our faith and be more vocal. I feel though that instead of counter criticizing American society’s double standards or islamophobic mentality we should start by striving in whatever sphere we have influence in (work, school etc.) to set the record straight by our ACTIONS.

    Like the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. In Rasullulah’s time, the sahabah faced propoganda and oppression that was equal to. if not worse than what we see today, yet the Prophet simply served his mission and did what he had to do without really getting into extensive debate. As a result, his outstanding actions had a profound influence on the Mekkan community in a relatively short span of time.

    What I’m saying is that as “moderate” Muslims we always here from non muslims that we are not defending our faith enough by demonizing the Extremists and being vocal, but I really think that is unnecessary. If we stand proud of our deen genuinely from the heart and are not afraid to display it whether it be in our appearence and our actions I think this will automatically win the hearts of our fellow countrymen. Words mean nothing if actions don’t back it up. I mean I have an issue when we have Muslims being all vocal and all about Islam, and politics etc. but can’t simply implement some of the basics of the Prophet’s sunnah.

    I mean if we look like Muslims, and we sincerely serve our non muslim peers like they were family (with respect, gifts and honesty), you think they’d approach us and demand an apology for the Extremist across the world that decided to blow himself up – common sense would dictate otherwise.

    • Avatar


      October 23, 2010 at 10:57 PM

      Peace be with you!

      Bin Muhsin, I was getting ready for sleep but was going to check on more time to see what was said, what you say in your post is exactly what I was trying to say. Maybe I do not communicate my thoughts very well but I do see you do understand. By NPR;s actions of firing Mr. Williams right or wrong gave some people
      the megaphone to bash you with. By simply asking for an appology, and I am sure you would have gotten it would be more benificial to your cause. It would have takin the wind from the biggots and left them emty handed. But now they have the megaphone, screaming to defund NPR and if the election turns out badly for liberals this could happen leaving one less moderate voice on the air. BTW lesa idea of bulding your own media presence is a good start. Maybe something like your own non profit radio network.

  15. Avatar


    October 24, 2010 at 2:39 AM

    I think my problem is that I don’t know how to interface in a political world.

    I imagined someone saying a comment like that to me, say, when speaking at a university campus on Islam. My reaction wouldn’t be “oh wow, you are such a bigot,” but actually, to reply, “I understand how you could feel that way…”

    Fears are generated on a touch of truth and the other 99% is irrational. We can’t have a logical conversation with someone who is afraid.

    Obviously, we don’t want our government passing laws based on irrational fears, because this is where we need minds with wisdom and a fair law to handle any current event.

    The point is, I do understand the average American’s fear, and I think most of you do too. I don’t think our Muslim community has NEVER EVER stereotyped anyone, or felt dislike or intimidation at someone because of their race, maybe nationality, or group of belonging.

    I remember being stranded at a gas station in downtown L.A. once, late at night. I needed air for my tire. This was after an AlMaghrib class, and one of the brothers local to the area, followed me there, to take care of the car for me and the other sisters I was driving. I got out of the car, and saw another car parked where the air pump was. I smiled, said excuse me, and began asking about the air pump. I stood there, waiting patiently. The brother pulled up, got out of his car, told me to get into mine, and told me the guy and the ladies at that car were looking at me in a not so good way, and he said “they might think you are trying to do something to them…”

    Black gang members? Maybe… I just saw a group of people at a gas station, and stood around, smiling, waiting for the air pump.

    So, it seems there ARE times when I am supposed to stereotype others for the sake of safety…like downtown L.A., because you know…THESE black people COULD be in gangs, and the could just be “regular” black people….but since there was no way to know…I should be careful, and on extra guard.

    Up to this day, being told that has been hard. And it happened numerous times when I went into L.A. I treated people as I saw them, just people, and others would tell me to be careful, watch my purse, avoid eye contact, etc.

    I have made a decision that I will use hikmah in all circumstances, but I do not want to die looking down on anyone, or treating someone different, “just in case.”

    And btw… it seems lots of Muslims fear other Muslims. Ask a Muslim who is the least likely person he wants to do business with…. he’ll say ANOTHER MUSLIM.

    My point…is that fearing others is a common human practice, and again our government CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT be allowed to pass laws out of these fears – BUT we MUST reach the rest of our American neighbors, living even across the street from us, and allow them to feel their fear, and then, allow them a chance to grow.

    We all are more willing to grow when someone validates how we feel. But when we feel we can’t be validated, we feel resentment and anger, because our lack of validation means we believe they are stupid and crazy, and no one wants to feel that. (which is what happened on the megyn kelly on fox news recently, I think, when she interview Ibrahim Hooper over this firing

    What I believe is that we need to call the world to a place of higher living, where we validate the fear, because we are all human and then say, “despite that fear, though, we will have to become even bigger people, do the opposite of our fears, open our hearts, and trust in the Creator” – because anything less than that isn’t living to our fullest potential.

    This is what our Prophet, saw, did, and other famous people who we remember, like Mother Teresa, Gandhi,etc. People loved them because they represent a higher version of themselves.

    Again, I am not blaming CAIR or anyone for the legal action being taken, but I feel a loving and spiritual voice within the Muslim community is also missing – a voice that reaches the hearts of people, telling them we understand.

    I know there are really good loving people out there, who do feel afraid of us, and also feel ashamed at their fear, but they see a Muslim, and then look at their small kids, and think, “what if…”

    What if…. we openly kept validating people, and showing a different face over and over again, like most of us do on a daily basis in our day to day lives. I am sure, like me, all of you are kind people, who smile, say have a good day, have nice manners, smile at kids, and respect the elderly, etc.

    How can we get THAT image into the messy political arena, on the news, where it seems to count?

  16. Avatar

    Murabitun Takruri

    October 24, 2010 at 7:22 AM

    Salamu Alaykum,

    Megan,…good point sister. InshAllah we will have the spiritual leader that the muslim community is lacking. I think they are already there but they are being silenced all the time by finding something to arrest them for. I think muslims in a whole are going through a very big fitnah. If you listen to the hadith of Rasoulullah Salal Lahu Alaihee Wa Salam concerning how our situation will be during the coming times is the hadith that says ” we will be like foam at the banks of the river” or something like that (sorry i don’t have the proper wording).

    I believe this is the begining of that time and this is all because of us. We left our Sunnah and Deen for a smaller wordly gain and we are suffering the consequences of that.

    But i am very hopefull in Allah Ta’ala that we will come around and go up to the status that we had in the world during the prime of the Islamic Empire. History is very important and i encourage for all muslims to learn about Our-Story, our past so we can understand our present and know where we are going in the future.

    Be the change that you want to see in the world.

  17. Avatar

    Subahan Allah

    October 24, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    there was no need to link to the link for the exact episode of the view, with women wearing (or rather) not wearing clothes…it would have been nice to have posted an audio version or simply explain what was said or atleast give a warning…

    • Avatar


      October 25, 2010 at 2:12 AM

      not sure what you are talking about actually… I linked to a news anchor, who is dressed, and you don’t see anything but her face and head… not to mention, you can lower your gaze when she talks if you’d like, but there aren’t a bunch of naked women in the clip.

  18. Avatar


    October 24, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    His comments are understandable. They are not very politically correct, and as Muslims, we should respond to them rationally. But firing him for just saying what he felt, and many other felt, works against us. The distrust of Islam will fester in the hearts of Americans, and turn to hatred if they are not allowed to discuss it and vent it rationally.

  19. Avatar

    Greg Thrasher

    October 26, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    The Juan Williams saga has surfaced a series of significant issues and observations from a number of concerns and considerations in various Black venues of America. I have no reservations about the nature of Juan’s comments from my vantage point as an activist his words were blatant bigotry and troubling given a nation like ours with a tortured legacy of negrophobia of late frequent incidents of islamophobia.

    Just as troubling as Juan’s words were the remarks of Vivian Schiller NPR’s CEO her comments that Juan should consult a psychiatrist were as lethal as the hate speech uttered by Juan Williams. Yet I have yet to observe the Trotter Group or the African -American Online folks challenge, confront and/or publish any commentaries regarding Schiller’s venom.

    The Trotter Group and the AA Online summit folks both have allowed the Obama white house to used them as conduits in outreach ventures now that Obama’s is in a meltdown and the midterm elections are on the calendar YET when Black activists and others are under siege by the character assignations on our mental faculties I have observed nothing but silence and avoidance from the collective clout of the Black media outlets in particular The Trotter Group and the AA Online summit folks.

    In the area of civil rights and economic initiatives Black activists have always been on the vanguard and suffered every measure of venom and inhumanity from the majority culture. Our roles have produced as much progress and accomplishments as any sector of the Black community in America.

    Again I reiterate why the silence from Black media outlets when whites demonize Black men who dared to have an opinion. When can Black activists expect the Black media to come to our assistance as they did for Obama?????

    We hurt to when the hurricane of venom and ridicule rains on us 24/7.

  20. Avatar


    October 26, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    First of all Puan Williams has no real credibility as a real journalist.. His opinions never carried any weight he is just a yes man to his white masters. He has never in his life made any point that is worth of any note. In the process he has become a house negro who is a lap dog of the RACIST Bill O-LIE-LY FAUX NOISE MACHINE. All this spin by FAUX NOISE about Puan willams’ “Expressing his FEELING” is complete nonsense. Puan williams is a media whore who made a racist statement to support his thug master Bill o-LIE-ly. This is part of a vile propaganda campaign by FAUX NOISE MACHINE to INCITE racist attacks against Muslims. Faux Noise INVENTS their own FACTS and calls it news. It is a RIGHT WING FASCIST MACHINE that is dangerous particularly because its tactics are incitement and bullying. Shame on the democrats and the rest of the coward media for not exposing Puan williams for the fraud nobody he is! Instead they forced Schiller of NPR to apologize to a buffoon like Puan williams. Why should anyone vote for the democrats at this point is beyond me. They are cowering under the right wing fascism that is slowly enveloping this country and have no guts to stand up to these thugs!

    • Avatar


      October 27, 2010 at 8:10 PM

      Peace be with you!

      Zak, Did you listen to ALL of Juan Williams Comment on Fox News?
      Here is the rest of Juan’s Comment.
      Williams, in the exchange, warned O’Reilly that all Muslims should not be blamed for extremist acts anymore than Christians should be faulted for the actions of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

      Have you ever read any of Juan Williams books?

      Williams is the author of Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 (1988),[1] a companion to the documentary series of the same name about the African-American Civil Rights Movement;Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary (2000), a biography of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States; and Enough (2006), which was inspired by Bill Cosby’s speech at the NAACP gala, and deals with Juan’s critique of black leaders in America, and as he puts it the “culture of failure.”

      Be quite honest, I never watch Fox News, but I do beleive everyone should be informed and know all the facts. I think certain organizations in the US are anti-muslim and they will use any reason to get people worked up and push their hate driven views! Maybe Juans wording was not the best but I am sure no biggotry was intended.

      • Avatar


        October 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM

        Peace Be with you!

        Here is the best analysis on any medium of the Juan Williams situation, this is exactly what I was trying to communicate, let me know what you think?

  21. Pingback: A Tale Of Two Press Releases: MPAC And CAIR On NPR’s Williams |

  22. Avatar

    Sharon I

    November 8, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    In reading all of your comments I find it strange that NONE of you ever mentioned that in the USA we have what is called Free Speach! If any or all of you don’t like our laws you don’t have to live here. If I objected as much as all of you I sure as hell would move to a country more in line with my beliefs. How dare you come here and try to dictate to us that we must change our laws to fit your personal agenda. Stop complaining or GO HOME!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi



In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

From Sri Lanka – The Niqab Ban and The Politics of Distraction




This article was originally published on Groundviews


As of last Monday, Sri Lanka is taking a seat at the table next to a list of 13 other countries from across the world who have passed legislation banning the niqab or face veil.

Amidst incensed murmurs from certain parliamentarians, and following a discussion with the country’s main Islamic theological body, the All Ceylon Jammiatul Ulema (ACJU), the President’s office has announced that ‘any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a person’s face would be barred.’ Sri Lanka has been under emergency regulations following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people. The ban will hold until emergency regulations are lifted.

Ever since the identification of the all-male terrorists behind the massacre as members of militant group ISIS, Muslim women -for some inexplicable reason- were to bear the hardest brunt. Instances of headscarved Muslim women being refused entry at various supermarkets and prominent establishments, was followed by the usual scaremongering via alarmist infographics doing the rounds yet again ‘educating’ the public of the differences between the burqa, hijab, and chador.

A victory indeed for both anti-Muslim voices, as well as to many within the Muslim community seeking to audibly amputate themselves from a supposedly dated form of Islam – one that they claim has no bearing to inherent Sri Lankan Muslim identity.  A view that discards the notion that any religious or ethnic identity is fluid, in flux, and subject to constant evolution.

The grand slam however is primarily for the current political establishment, members of whom are probably high-fiving each other as a result of this kneejerk symbol-politics manoeuvre on having supposedly successfully placated the public of their fears of homegrown terrorism. A move that bleeds hypocrisy for it comes at the cost of subliminally ‘othering’ an already marginalized segment of a minority community, while at the same time PSA’ing for peace and coexistence in this time of crisis.

What is most insulting to the intelligence of our society however, is that amidst all this brouhaha, only few have questioned the actual relevance of this new ban to the current state of our security affairs.

No eye witness report nor CCTV footage showed that any of the suicide bombers from any of the coordinated attacks across the country were on that day wearing the niqab/burqa/chador at the time of inflicting their terror. The men were in fact dressed in men’s attire, with faces completely exposed. It might serve to add here also that they weren’t dressed in traditional Muslim man garb either.

How then did the face veiling Muslim woman get pushed under the bus as the most identifiable sign of radicalism?

It is obvious that the government was cornered into passing this legislation, as was the ACJU too in having to support this move. While all communities have only their praises to sing for the exceptional work of the security forces in tracking down the attackers within only just hours, the country’s elected leadership was in dire need of respite following what many experts claim was a massive intelligence failure, a blunder involving the wrongful identification of a terror suspect, and incompetence in the handling of events overall. A distraction was desperately required. Something needed to give, and it just so happened that the niqab-donning Muslim woman was the easiest scapegoat.

To an outsider unfamiliar with Muslim religious symbolism, the face-veil can come across as alien, even unnerving. And while our first instinct is to otherize in an attempt to help deal with the discomfort of dealing with any unknown, a woman out in the street in a niqab is -for as long as anyone can remember- most certainly not an oddity that has compelled anyone to stop and recite their final rites.

The misguided belief that the face veil is a marker of extremism isn’t and hasn’t ever been based on any empirical research. If studies were to be carried out, results would show that Muslim women in general -let alone those with a face cover- have a little role to play, if any, for acts of terror committed in all the countries that have banned them.

Contrarily, there is a clear proven relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in recorded Islamophobic incidents against Muslims, with women being disproportionately targeted. One can then dare infer that being visibly Muslim carries a greater risk to oneself, than to the people around them.

The niqab ban has been put in place as a security measure they say – a flexing of muscles towards any semblance of radicalization that will deter any future acts of terror in the country. Naturally, the perpetuating of this ideological hegemony is doing Muslim women no favors. If anything, the ban is a wholly counterproductive one, in that it ostracizes an already marginalized segment of a minority community – a sliver of a percentage out of the 10% that is the country’s Muslim population.

If -as commonly believed- veiled Muslim women are being hopelessly persecuted, the ban will serve only to increasingly confine these women to their homes, under the control of the men accused of governing their lives, and further disconnected from being able to assimilate with society. Even more dangerous, there are studies which prove that having to live in an environment that is aggressively policed on the basis of belief is more likely to harbour radicalization.

Absurdity of the non-connection of the attacks with the niqab ban aside, this in itself should be a war cry for secular feminists advocating for everyone’s basic right to the civil freedoms of a liberal society. Where now are the proponents and ambassadors so wholly soaked in the ‘Muslim woman saviour complex?’ A segment of Muslim women has been forbidden from wearing what they feel best represents their Sri Lankan Muslim identity. They were not consulted before this legislation was passed, nor were they given the chance to show their willingness to cooperate on instances where identification was required.

Ludicrously, discourses surrounding veiled Muslim women are paradoxically lobbed back and forth according to the convenience of the times. In times of world peace, they are oppressed and subservient to patriarchal whims and fancies, while in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack there are hostile and threatening, capable of devising all kinds of evil. They are either victims of violence or the perpetrators of it.

This age-old preoccupation with Muslim women’s attire is in actuality a gross conflation of conservatism with extremism. In claiming that a strip of cloth holds the answer to combatting a severe global threat is trivialising the greater issues at hand. If there was a direct correlation between the attacks and veiled individuals, legislation forbidding the covering of the face in public would be wholly justified. But there is none.

Muslim women shouldn’t be faulted for the cracks in the state’s china. In not being able to answer the hard questions of accountability, lapses in acting on available intelligence, and general good governance, those at the top should leave well alone and consider hiding their faces instead.

Continue Reading