The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is pressing advertisers to withdraw their sponsorship of Michael Savage's nationally syndicated radio program because of Savage's alleged "anti-Muslim bigotry."
Savage, on his Web site, is fighting back, urging his listeners to protect freedom of speech: "Email your representative; investigate CAIR for manipulating the U.S. media," his Web site says.
On Nov. 1, CAIR urged "radio listeners of all faiths" to contact companies that advertise on "The Savage Nation" to complain about an "anti-Muslim tirade" on Savage's Oct. 29 program. (CAIR periodically issues "incitement alerts," urging its members to contact various media outlets to express their concerns about "Islamophobic attitudes.")
CAIR was particularly disturbed by Savage's "shouted anti-Muslim attacks," which it quoted as follows:
-- I'm not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I'm not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I'm not getting' on my all-fours and braying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don't like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don't wanna hear anymore about Islam. I don't wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I'm sick of you. . .
On Nov. 2, CAIR's Minnesota chapter announced that three companies in that state had agreed to pull their advertisements from "The Savage Nation."
And on Thursday, CAIR thanked Citrix Systems, Inc., for agreeing to drop its advertisements from Savage's nationally syndicated program. "We appreciate Citrix's principled action to disassociate itself from Michael Savage's hate-filled rhetoric," said CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin in a news release on Thursday.
"We urge other local and national companies running ads on Savage's program to follow Citrix's example in support of religious tolerance."
What about free speech?
"Free speech is a precious right that we fully support and strive to protect," Rubin added. "We are not seeking to curb Mr. Savage's freedom of speech, but to demonstrate that Americans and American companies will not tolerate hatred and bigotry."
CAIR, which describes itself as America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, says its mission is to "enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."
But conservative commentators who have been on the receiving end of CAIR's anti-Islamaphobia campaigns disagree.
Radio talk show host Michael Graham, forced out of his job in the Washington, D.C., market for refusing to apologize for remarks that offended a Muslim group, landed a new job in Boston, Mass., last year.
CAIR, which pressed for Graham's removal, said it received complaints from Muslim listeners who heard Graham say, "Islam is a terrorist organization," "Islam is at war with America," "The problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam," and "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."
Graham was suspended from his job at ABC-owned WMAL in Washington on July 29, 2005, after he refused a management request to apologize for practicing what CAIR called "hate radio." (MORE)