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NEWS: DC Area Conservative Talk Show Host Suspended for Comments About Islam

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posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 11:24 AM
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Michael Graham, a conservative talk-show host on WMAL 630 AM in Washington D.C., was suspended yesterday for comments about Islam. Mr. Graham has repeatedly said over the past few weeks that Islam is a terrorist organization and that it sponsors and condones violence and terror. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has made numerous complaints about his show to the station. It is not immediately clear whether the decision came from the station or its parent company, ABC Disney.
 



www.washingtonpost.com
Radio talk-show host Michael Graham was suspended by station WMAL-AM yesterday for repeatedly describing Islam as a "terrorist organization" on his program.

Graham said he has been ordered off the Washington station, without pay, for an indefinite period while the station investigates the comments that drew complaints from a Muslim group, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Officials at WMAL, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., had initially declined to take disciplinary action against Graham. However, WMAL President and General Manager Chris Berry said last night that Graham would be suspended for making statements that "crossed the line."

"We do not condone his position and believe his statements were irresponsible," Berry said in a statement.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This guy is on during my moring commute. I've heard his comments over the past few weeks to the effect that Islam is a terrorist organization. He is always quick to point out that he is talking about Islam as a whole, not individual followers, and he claims he is prompted by the lack of outcry from the Muslim community at large following the attacks of 9/11 and the recent attacks in London. CAIR is, of course, very happy about the decision.

His constant theme is that Islam, as a whole, supports terror and violence, and he makes a decent case (not saying I believe it, just saying he makes a good case).

Don't know how I feel about this yet, but I know there are a LOT of callers who have been calling to say how upset they are, alternatively over the suspension or the comments.
Should be fun to see how it all plays out.

Michael Graham (and the preceding host) have noted that perhaps part of the problem he is having with the station is that he refused to keep the suspension secret (as he was apparently asked) and instead went directly to the Washington Post with it. (Check his Web site below)

An interesting aside, one caller this morning complained that Mr. Graham's comments were inciteful (not insightful), and may potentially cause backlash towards Muslims. It is worth noting the frame of mind: that this is the very thing Mr. Graham accused Islam of doing, and yet the caller (when asked by the interim host) would not condemn the inciteful speech of the Muslim world (again, only interesting to note, not a statement of my beliefs).

Related News Links:
releases.usnewswire.com
billboardradiomonitor.com
www.washingtonpost.com
www.michaelgraham.com

[edit on 29-7-2005 by Hamburglar]

[edit on 29-7-2005 by Hamburglar]




posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 11:52 AM
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Well, it's a shame that his viewpoint is being silenced because people find it offensive, as that won't stop him from having it, just the means by which he communicates it. However, it is the decision of the radio company how to handle it, and they probably did the right thing, at least for their radio station.

Silencing an opinion as best you can doesn't make it go away, it makes it go underground, and that's when radical opinions can get truely dangerous.



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 12:07 PM
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Well, thats one racist biggot less on the air


There is freedom of speech and then there is that talk about how all Jews are bad and we should kill them, how all black people are bad because they are black, how all Islam is terorist and so on. We don't really want such people speaking on the radio.



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 12:49 PM
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There is freedom of speech and then there is that talk about how all Jews are bad and we should kill them, how all black people are bad because they are black, how all Islam is terorist and so on. We don't really want such people speaking on the radio.


Maybe not on the radio, but if we silence their opinion in the public square, they'll go underground. I hate to beat a reference that's been far too overplayed lately, but it applies directly to this situation. In Germany in the early 30s, Hitler was silenced and not permitted to express his belief the Jews were at fault for everything. As a result he went underground, got a massive following, and suddenly the government found this huge contingent that supported Hitler and his views taking over the government. The same thing happened when the KKK's opinions were made illegal for a brief period of time.

You need to keep those opinions out in the open, so they can be addressed and the foolishness exposed. If they have to be hidden from sight, no one who isn't part of the group would think to contradict an opinion they've not heard. As a result, the followers of that opinion would be essensially forced into only hearing one side of the issue. Then they become radical and fanatical, and who knows where it goes from there.



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 04:51 PM
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Well, thats one racist biggot less on the air


I think we should be careful about labeling this guy a racist bigot. He has maintained that he does not have a problem with Muslims in general. In fact, he had this to say on his site, which is worth reading if you want to comment on the man and his ideologies:



As a talk show host, author and columnist, I've repeatedly criticized the current state of Islam and called for its reform. As for the "controversial" statement that "Sadly, as it is constituted today, Islam IS a terrorist organization, but the good news is that the major[ity] of Muslims--who don't support terror--can change that and take back their religion," I first made that statement on the air last Thursday.


I'm not sure "racist bigot" applies here. What about the notion that he raises, that by refusing (until yesterday) to decry the use of violence and terror, "Islam" has shown its support for those actions? Is he completely off base? If so, where does he go wrong?



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 05:14 PM
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There actually has been, after the London bombings, a large movement in Islam to condemn or even put out a fatwah against terrorist violence. It does raise the question of why they waited so long after WTC, but that's for another thread.

As to "Racist"...
Many colleges today have special speech codes forbidding and providing punishment for certain types of language and behavior an individual or group would find demeaning or abused due to their racial status. The problem with these codes is that they do not identify such behavior or language, as it is based on how the words or actions were interpreted. Thus, any accusation of “racist” is, therefore, always true. As such, it has been used to silence opposition by using a term that is so horribly dirty and stigmatizing, people are afraid to speak.

I'm not saying racism or racists don't exist, they do. It's just that our criteria to determine if someone is a racist has become so petty, the term is losing a lot of its effectiveness in today's society. I mean, apparently I'm a racist because I kicked a drunk african american out of the sub shop I was running about 6 years ago because he threw his sub against the wall and was trying to rip one of our paintings off the wall (it was about 1:30 AM). So I was a racist for not letting him wreck up the place because he was upset with a friend, or at least someone who came into the store with him, and by the typical University definition of the term, I absloutly was a racist if he felt I was kicking him out because of his skin color. It doesn't matter that that had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, sorry for the little rant there



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 05:19 PM
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Heh, suprised the FCC didnt come down on the dude, they bust everyone elses chops for pushing the envelope. As for freedom of speech its a joke on the radio, the FCC can clamp down on just about anything they want on the airwaves, so dont bother trying the first ammendment approach, they will tell you to jump in a lake. While I don't agree with censorship the fact is if we were to allow him to go on and let the first ammendment protect the radio waves then the FCC woudl be out of a job of busting people and the FRC would end up disbanding without a organization to abuse and control.

The way I see it he left himself open for the hammer by indicating he was addressing all of Islam, which if the tables were turned and someone was making broad statements about Christians and the history of the religion in respect to its own violent and often oppresive streak he would have surely been pissed off.



posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 05:23 PM
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Originally posted by alternateheaven
which if the tables were turned and someone was making broad statements about Christians and the history of the religion in respect to its own violent and often oppresive streak he would have surely been pissed off.


Would he? I don't know of the guy, never heard his radio program, never even actually heard of him, so I don't know him. However, in my case, I'm surrounded by it and it doesn't piss me off. Here at ATS such sweeping claims are laid against Chrsitianity; all I can do, and all I want to do, is educate people that not all Christians are like that. However, it doesn't piss me off, I just see it as ignorance to my faith.



posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 11:38 AM
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UPDATE:

According to his Web site, his station has received over 10,000 calls/e-mails of support. This may end up being overturned by the station, given that (according to Graham), CAIR made only about 100 calls.

In another article on this topic WorldNetDaily, he clarified his position. In fact, cries of racism aside, there is an elegant logic to his point.

The article notes:


He drew an analogy between Islam and the Boy Scouts.

"If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization," he said. "If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder – and the scoutmasters in charge simply said 'Could be' – the Boy Scouts would have [been] driven out of America long ago."


He also says (for all those who would simply cry "racism" and not give it a second look):



Graham added that, "I have great sympathy for those Muslims of good will who want their faith to be a true 'religion of peace.' I believe that terrorism and murder do violate the sensibilities and inherent decency of the vast majority of the world's Muslims. I believe they want peace."


So, if we can get rid of the notion that he is simply a bigot–which, given his words above, I think we can–what do you all think about his argument?

Does he make a valid point? I think his Boy Scout example is right on. I love the logic. One could also say that while the majority of whites were not members of the KKK in the first half of the 20th century, whites still had a moral obligation to decry the lynchings and terrorizing perpetrated by the KKK. I see that as no different.

What say you all?



posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by Hamburglar
So, if we can get rid of the notion that he is simply a bigot–which, given his words above, I think we can–what do you all think about his argument?


Sadly, I don't think this can be done in today's PC climate. If you hear an arguement you don't like, you call it racist and people, as long as your skin color is correct, rally behind you and ignore anything the offending party could say to defend themselves.

His arguement does make sense. I'm not sure how well it will stand with the current outcry against terrorism that has taken place since the Londom bombings, but I am curious as to where the rage is over 9-11 to this day. I seem to recall either dancing on the streets, complete silence, or, as we heard from one very "special" professor, announcements that America deserved it.



posted on Aug, 1 2005 @ 11:33 PM
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.
I am sort of split on this.
On the one hand you don't need people making inflamatory statements,
On the other hand I do believe free speech is sacred.

Is this equivilent to someone shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater?

6 billion people does begin to crowd the planet.

The best [most productive] free speech is that which happens on a very high intellectual plane. Still distantly connected with the emotional reality of us, but as far removed from it as possible.

Could it be that absolute freedom of speech/thought can only happen in carefully isolated environments, away from reactive people?
.



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by slank
Is this equivilent to someone shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater?


No, and I'll explain why. In a theater, when someone cries, "fire," you have to act. If you don't the consequences, if true, could be immediate and dire. When someone says an opinion over the radio, it is generally recognized as exactly that: and opinion. You don't have to react immediately and you're not forced to believe it. You're also not going to have stampeeding people funneling out of one small doorway. Three, if someone thinks and uses the fire exit, but I've worked at a movie theater as an usher, and people don't think outside the box in a panic situation; they go out the way they came in.

There's a big difference. Yeah, the opinion can get a following, but crying "fire" will.



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 11:22 AM
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In addition, Jake, I would also suggest that he is not exhorting anyone to actually do anything. Instead, he seems to be pointing out the failings of "mainstream" Islam to condemn many of the terror attacks.

Also, while free speech is important, it doesn't really apply here. There is no clause in the Constitution that says that you can't be fired for speaking your mind. The radio station has every right to fire him. It would only be a free speech issue if he were barred from speaking in public, or if he were arrested.

Finally, maybe I should turn this into a thread (anyone know how, without just starting it fresh?). I am really interested in people's opinions on the actual position he advances. Is Islam, as it stands now, a "terrorist organization"? Remember his example of the Boy Scouts. Should we hold Islam to that standard?

And, while I know that clerics, and even groups like CAIR, have recently issued fatwas against the London attacks, have they done so for 9/11? Is it in response to pressure brought by outspoken talk-show hosts like Michael Graham? And, is this a ploy by a terrorist-supporting group to add some credibility and take off some of the heat? Is this misdirection to stop normal frolks from coming to the same conclusion that Michael Graham reached?


In September of 2001, just following the worst terrorist attack ever suffered in modern history, CAIR placed on its website, under a picture of the World Trade Center in flames, a plea for donations. It read, “Donate to the NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund.”

Yet, when people clicked on the link, it did not take them to any NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund. No, it took them straight to the website of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an Islamic ‘charity’ that was soon to be shut down by the United States for “raising millions of dollars annually for HAMAS.”

Jihad Watch Source About CAIR (the group who pressured the radio station to fire Michael Graham)



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 12:07 PM
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But the problem is, Muslim's have.

Several times since 9/11 spoke out about terrorist attacks and several times prior to 9/11.

If he bothered to research it, before he spoke he'd see that the media are turning a blind eye to these groups who are the decent majority and as normal raising the vocal minority above them.



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
But the problem is, Muslim's have.

Several times since 9/11 spoke out about terrorist attacks and several times prior to 9/11.

If he bothered to research it, before he spoke he'd see that the media are turning a blind eye to these groups who are the decent majority and as normal raising the vocal minority above them.


I believe you Odium, but I'd love to read something other than your word. Can you link something up? Maybe I didn't look hard enough when writing my last post, but I didn't find anyting readily available. Can you help?

Thanks, dude!



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 12:54 PM
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groups.colgate.edu...


As scholars of religious traditions, we observe that religious symbols are used for political motives all over the world in Hindu, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. However, we must critically distinguish between politically motivated deployment of religious symbols and the highest ideals that these traditions embody. Just as most would regard bombers of abortion clinics to be outside the pale of Christianity, so the actions of these terrorists should not be accepted as representing Islam in any way.


www.uga.edu...


"These injunctions explain statements by governments [such as those] of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Libya denouncing Tuesday’s attacks. [Even] radical groups like Hamas and the Taliban have denounced [them], along with the Palestinian leadership. Such political statements must be taken seriously, as they are backed up by all major religious authorities [in Islam], from the rector of Al-Azhar University [in Egypt] to the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who forbid suicide missions, especially attacks against civilians. Just this past Friday, Sheikh Mohammed al-Tantawi of Al-Azhar of Islam, the highest institution in Sunni Islam, denounced the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In his weekly sermon to thousands of worshippers in Cairo, he said, ‘Attacking innocent people is not courageous. It … will be punished on the Day of Judgment.’ Likewise, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran in an official statement said: ‘On behalf of the Iranian government and the nation, I condemn the hijacking attempts and terrorist attacks on public centers in American cities, [attacks] which have killed a large number of innocent people.’ "


That's one I found in a few moments of searching, their have been hundreds if not thousands.

But the media won't report on them.

[edit on 2/8/2005 by Odium]

[edit on 2/8/2005 by Odium]



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Hamburglar
I believe you Odium, but I'd love to read something other than your word. Can you link something up? Maybe I didn't look hard enough when writing my last post, but I didn't find anyting readily available. Can you help?

Thanks, dude!


Even Yasser Arafat condemned the September 11 attacks.



iss.k12.nc.us

We stand, with the victims, against terrorism.

The terrorist crime in New York and Washington is a great disaster that affected all humanity and struck at civilization and human decency.

From Bethlehem, the cradle of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, from Jerusalem and Al Haram Ash-shareef, the ascendance of prophet Muhammad to Heaven, and from the churches and mosques on our holy land, rises the voice of the injured and tortured Palestinian offering his condolences and consolations to the friendly American people and its leadership who were struck by this malicious terrorist crime that caused the death of thousands of its innocent sons.

I, and the people of Palestine, suffering from occupation, pray for the innocent victims in New York and Washington. We join our voices to all those sincere ones calling for joint action under the flag of the United Nations to destroy all forms of terrorism, which is a danger to humanity and to the sacred human right to life.

Peace should prevail for the sake of all humanity, and in the Holy Land, the Land of Peace.

President Yasser Arafat
Gaza, 17 September 2001.



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by AceOfBase
Even Yasser Arafat condemned the September 11 attacks.


...While the Palestinians danced in the streets.



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake

Originally posted by AceOfBase
Even Yasser Arafat condemned the September 11 attacks.


...While the Palestinians danced in the streets.


But why didn't both get media attention?



posted on Aug, 2 2005 @ 01:26 PM
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Odium,

I appreciate your efforts. I think your first source was a bit better than the second one in terms of describing outcry from major leaders in the Muslim world.

So, assuming that you are correct that there have been many denouncements by "mainstream" Muslims, what else is being done to curb this violence?

For example, from your source:


Just as most would regard bombers of abortion clinics to be outside the pale of Christianity, so the actions of these terrorists should not be accepted as representing Islam in any way.


Here is what we do in response to bombings of abortion clinics:



Birmingham, Ala. — Eric Rudolph was sentenced to life in prison Monday for his role in a deadly women's clinic bombing after he angrily denounced abortion and one of his victims called him a “monster.”

Eric Rudolph gets life in jail

It seems that "Muslim" countries protect, shelter, and nurture those who do these acts, then issue a fatwa or a statement such as the ones from your sources. Meanwhile, we treat our religious radicals to life in prison.

The words of support from your sources, and (taking your word for it here) the many other Muslim leaders out there who have condemned these attacks, are wonderful. But, only as a start.

Without any kind of action, it is still very easy to interpret the stance of the Muslim world as one of acceptance, if not outright support, of these attacks.

[edit on 2-8-2005 by Hamburglar]




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