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Re 'Reactions to Juan Williams's Firing...'

Juan Williams should not have been fired

I am a minority and I am sensitive to any minority being unfairly criticized or targeted, but watching the entire Juan Williams segment on the O'Reilly show I saw that he did not say all Muslims are terrorists or make any disparaging remark. He simply stated that he feels afraid if he is on a plane and there are several men in Muslim garb. Expressing fear does not equate to hatred.

Contrary to many of the posts on this site and others that does not make him a bigot. Jesse Jackson once made a similar comment that if he was ever walking down the street alone and saw a group of black youth he would feel frightened. No one I know would call Jesse Jackson a racist and bigot who hated blacks.

Saying one felt fear when seeing Muslims on a plane is not the same as Rick Sanchez's feeding the false stereotype that Jews control the media or Octavia Nasr on CNN praising a Hezbollah leader when she knew Hezbollah is vehemently anti-Semitic, calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and murdered 241 US Marines in Lebanon when Ronald Reagan was president.

Helen Thomas's vile comment that the Jews should all go back to Poland and Germany was rhetoric that could not be tolerated. There are Jews from over a hundred different countries living in Israel, and everyone knows that the Jews who came to Israel from Germany and Poland in the 1940s and '50s were survivors of the Holocaust and concentration camps.

Many Americans share Juan Williams fear. That does not make it right, but he expressed a feeling and did not say Muslims should be removed from a plane or should be denied any of the rights we all have, and he has consistently and repeatedly condemned anti Muslim rhetoric—he has done so many, many times.

We live in a country where people lose their jobs for expressing an opinion or feeling and where hosts walk off the set of a TV show because they cannot sit and discuss their displeasure with an outrageous comment a guest on their show made.

We need to be able to speak openly about being uncomfortable with other people if we are ever going to heal the divide that exists between the different races and religions in our country. We need to talk to each other, not at each other, or apart from each other.

Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Oct 21 2010 - 7:15pm