NPR has shown itself to be afraid of Muslims -- far more afraid than Juan Williams, and hypocritical in a way that Williams never was. What's worse, NPR has acted on that fear.
Their rationale for this refusal, which they stated publicly, should be considered by every person who cares about our culture, our security, and our fundamental honesty as a society.
In deciding whether or not they should publish controversial images like the cartoon, NPR's decision-making process is made of a series of questions that "news organizations need to ask," including the question, "Who will be harmed?" In other words, whom will Muslims harm? That this question would be asked proves that NPR has fear of Muslims -- fear which NPR admits taking into account when deciding on its own staff's behavior.
NPR understood that the predictable violent behavior of some Muslims is a cause for fear. NPR explicitly stated that "harm" to others is a factor that they take into account. PBS can't base newsroom decisions on fear and then fire Williams for sharing in an identical fear which he does not act on.
Political correctness has run rampant over rational thought, and it is doing damage to our sense of self-preservation.
Of course, political correctness was never thought through. It was a social dogma which grew into an educational mantra, then hardened into an article of liberal faith. But 75% of Americans consider political correctness a problem, as a recent Rasmussen poll reported.
The backlash against Williams' firing is arising not from a single choice, nor solely from fondness for the thoughtful and sensitive man himself. The backlash is rooted in very deep ideological veins which still course through the American body politic. We value honesty more than diversity; we value common sense more than the supine position of self-criticism which political correctness forces us into.
We have good reason to be concerned about Muslim violence. Terrorism committed by Muslims today is quantitatively different from terrorism committed by Christians or members of any other religion. In frequency and scale, Muslims commit more acts of terrorism. This is revealed in the example most often given of Christian terrorism: Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh claimed to be agnostic, according to the Guardian. There was zero evidence at his trial or at any other time that Christianity drove McVeigh, much less that he proclaimed divine endorsement. Yet invoking Tim McVeigh is the giddy, canned response to any criticism of Muslim terror.
Not every robbery, rape, murder, or mass killing committed by a Christian or Muslim can be called a Christian or Muslim act. When someone who is Christian robs a bank, this is not necessarily a Christian bank robbery. If a Christian robbed the bank citing the social gospel as his divine sanction, then that would probably be a Christian bank robbery. An act of terrorism can't be called Christian or Muslim terrorism when there is no sign that the religion was the cause. If there is no sign that religion caused the terrorism, then we are talking about terrorism committed by a Christian or Muslim, as opposed to Christian or Muslim terrorism.
Muslims commit terrorism in the name of their religion far more often than do members of any other religious group. They do so in more locations, with greater frequency, and on a greater scale. The reality of Muslim violence is with us every day, from myriad attacks in the Middle East to honor killings in Europe to riots, death threats, and attempted murder over cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. It should be noted that an American cartoonist in America, Molly Norris, has changed her name and gone into hiding at the suggestion of the FBI. She did so because of Muslim death threats after she merely suggested that people draw Mohammed -- then profusely apologized in public for even suggesting such a thing.
The people at NPR know how violent radical Muslims can be, and they know that Muslims will unleash violence over insults that other religions brush off. That is why in their newsroom, NPR staff ask, when Islam is at issue, "Who will be harmed?" Juan Williams asks himself a similar question when he is in certain situations at an airport.
John Thomas Bennett is a candidate for the J.D. degree at Emory University.