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US public radio fires analyst over comments on Muslims

world Updated: Oct 21, 2010 11:29 IST

AFP
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A top US public radio network has sacked a senior news analyst after he made disparaging remarks about Muslims on television.

National Public Radio (NPR) said it notified Juan Williams late on Wednesday that it was terminating his contract as a senior news analyst for NPR News.

Williams was fired just two days after he made a Fox News Channel appearance during which he agreed with a television host that the United States was facing a "Muslim dilemma."

On his show "The O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly said: "The cold truth is that in the world today, jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet."

Williams, who is also a political analyst for Fox News, said he concurred with O'Reilly, adding: "I think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality."

The analyst said he felt nervous when boarding planes with Muslims on board.

"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams said.

"But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

NPR said in a statement that Williams's remarks were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

It thanked Williams for his many years of service as a "valuable contributor" to NPR.

"We did not make this decision lightly or without regret," it added. "We regret these circumstances."

Williams's role as an analyst for both NPR and Fox News has caused concern in the past. In 2009, complaints from radio listeners prompted NPR to ask Fox to stop identifying Williams as an NPR analyst.

NPR ombudswoman Alicia Shepard said at the time that Williams "tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox."

O'Reilly had brought Williams on his show after the Fox News host said "Muslims killed us on 9/11" during an appearance on ABC television's "The View" last week, prompting talk show hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set.