Editorial

Juan Williams held to a higher standard than the president

Juan Williams was canned from his position as an analyst at NPR for honestly stating what many Americans, including apparently President Barack Obama, think: Americans are still struggling to disassociate the trauma of 9/11 from the ideology of Islam.

Williams expressed to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly the anxiety he feels when flying with passengers clad in “Muslim garb,” saying, “I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Now consider a decision earlier this week by the White House, involving the president’s upcoming trip to India. Mr. Obama decided to alter his plans to visit a Sikh temple during next month for fear of being photographed wearing a head covering, as is the Sikh custom.

The reason? With his approval ratings in the tank, he is not willing to risk appearing too Muslim.

As the New York Times perceptively reported, “Mr. Obama, a Christian, has struggled to fend off persistent rumors that he is a Muslim, and Sikhs in the United States have often been mistaken for Muslims.”

So evidently the lesson is that President Obama is permitted to concede to Islamophobes but Juan Williams must pretend that Islamophobia and the events that led to its rise in America did not occur and do not exist.

Americans, even good and honorable Americans like Mr. Williams and Mr. Obama, are still grappling with the trauma of the 9/11 attacks. It is not an indication of bigotry to face the beast, to discuss its effects, to admit that the anxiety exists in an attempt to come to terms with it.

Juan Williams, with his track record on race and tolerance, is clearly not a bigot. His dismissal from NPR is yet another blatant example of political correctness run amok and liberals’ failure to acknowledge the obvious. At least he will still speak the truth on Fox News.

Michele Langevine Leiby, J.D., is a Washington writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.