On Oct. 1, Bill Cunningham proclaimed on his radio show: “The war of this generation is the war against Islamic fascists. They do not live for life, they live for death. Only through death can they, they believe, be with the 72 virgins in heaven and have sex with children for eternity, which is the goal of that religion. It’s despicable and it’s wrong.”

Such a false statement promotes a vastly inaccurate and unfair image of the faithful followers of “that religion.”

The level of ignorance of Islam, one of the world’s great religions, that such comments reflect is too profound to address here. Yet, it must be said that these comments are extremely harmful to a faith community that is especially vulnerable right now to bigotry and negative stereotyping.

WLW’s pattern of permitting unchecked the socially irresponsible and hurtful insults from its “talk” medium is deplorable.

Our Muslim neighbors are just the latest in a long line of “talk” victims of Clear Channel and Cunningham. Previously, we have heard similarly reprehensible rhetoric from Clear Channel and Cunningham directed at African-Americans, Jews, gays, women and other easy targets of inter-group prejudice.

Most recently, the station aired comments and plastered advertisements on billboards around our city derogatory to our community’s Hispanic population.

All of these comments are hateful, harmful, counter-community, and perhaps worst of all, designed to attract ratings for a radio program.

WLW’s social irresponsibility hurts everyone and embarrasses our entire community. Cunningham has admitted many times in the past to pandering to his audience with reckless and outlandish comments merely to gain ratings.

As a community committed to inclusion and unity, we need to call WLW to task and discredit its tactics as a media outlet. (MORE)

Robert C. “Chip” Harrod is executive director of Bridges for a Just Community.


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