Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turks with Knives

"When you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup."
---Turkish proverb.

So, say you're having a conversation with someone about the insecurities of living in this post-9/11 world of ours and that someone says...
"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 might your reaction be? Maybe agreement or a polite rebuke? Either way, would you go to the end of the earth to see this persons career destroyed and basically upend their world?

Well if you're the CEO of National Public Radio(NPR) you would. And with gusto. The head of NPR, Vivian Schiller, did just that when she fired the respected journalist Juan Williams after he made that comment on The O'Reilly Factor, when the topic came around to the Muslim quandary in America. After firing him she said that Williams should save those remarks for "his psychiatrist or his publicist." Nice! The irony is that Williams went on to say that we shouldn't associate Muslims with extremist Muslims like we shouldn't label all Christians as extremists because of the Oklahoma City bombings.

Personally I agree with the guy. Whether it's a logical fear or not, soft alarm bells go off in my head at times. Coincidentally, a week before Williams was fired, I had an experience where in the restaurant that I work at a group of ten Muslim men and women walked in wearing "their garb", ordered no food, and broke off into groups of two and sat dispersed around the restaurant. ??? They had books with them and were apparently studying Muslim scripture, stayed for about an hour before leaving together without eating. Call me and my associates bigots but we were a little unsettled.

But I'm a reasonable guy. In return, the next time I'm in Saudi Arabia and I wear jeans and a "Guns n Roses" shirt to a restaurant I won't be the least bit offended if the peeps view me a wee bit wearily.