(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/22/05) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today applauded a Washington, D.C., radio station's decision to fire a talk show host who stated repeatedly that "Islam is a terrorist organization."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said media reports indicate that WMAL-AM fired host Michael Graham last Friday after he refused to retract his anti-Islam statements, make an on-air apology and conduct additional outreach efforts to the Muslim community and others offended by his words.
The controversy began last month when Graham stated: 1. "Islam is a terrorist organization." 2. "Islam is at war with America." 3. "The problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam." 4. "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam." Other listeners said that Graham even encouraged a public "backlash" against Muslims. (Graham later claimed he meant a backlash of social pressure, not violent attacks on Muslims.)
In response, CAIR initiated a public campaign against WMAL and the station's advertisers after receiving complaints from listeners who heard Graham make those anti-Islam remarks. While WMAL initially stood behind Graham, it changed its position after hundreds of people responded to the group's action alerts by contacting the station and its sponsors.
"Just as Michael Graham has the right to hold bigoted views, so, too, does our society have the right to live free of hatred and incitement," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We are saddened that Michael Graham would not take responsibility for his hate-filled words, but we do welcome WMAL's action as a step toward reducing the level of anti-Muslim bigotry on our nation's airwaves."
Awad thanked local Metropolitan-D.C., interfaith and community leaders and the many people in America and worldwide who contacted WMAL and its advertisers to express their concerns over Graham's bigoted comments.
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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. To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
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NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society. To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet/