Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jerry Klien responds

IMPORTANT MESSAGE POSTED WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29:

I continue to be astonished by the response to my program of Sunday, 11/26/06. For the many hundreds (thousands? I've lost count) of you who have sent me email, please accept my apology for not responding immediately; I simply can't keep up. For the vast majority of you who have been incredibly supportive: Many thanks, from the bottom of my heart. I can't tell you how much I've been moved by what you've said. I'll post some of these as soon as I have a chance.

As for those of you who have been critical: Please make sure that you've fully read the press release sent out Monday by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Some of you have missed the point of the program and somehow believe I support discriminatory actions against Muslims. I DO NOT. I've included the text of that press release below. Please read it again. And feel free to listen to the ENTIRE program using the link below.

MAJOR NOTICE: I'm having surgery on Thursday, November 30th, which means I will be out of the office, and not on the air this coming Sunday, 12/3, and maybe longer. This is NOT some nefarious plot. It has been scheduled for at least three weeks. I had back surgery early in August, was out of the office for almost two months, and have had complications that require attention. My surgeon has informed me he won't know if this will be a simple procedure or a more involved one until he gets started. So don't make the false assumption that my absence from the air has anything to do with the publicity over this past week's program. There is NO connection.

Here's CAIR's press release from Monday. The emphasis in bold is their's, not mine:

RADIO SPOOF DRAWS SUPPORT FOR NAZI-LIKE TREATMENT OF U.S. MUSLIMS - TOP
CAIR says callers' reaction is a 'wake-up call' on Anti-Muslim bigotry

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/27/06) - A parody of anti-Muslim bigotry on a Washington, D.C., radio station drew support for treating American Muslims in a manner similar to how the Jewish community was targeted in Nazi Germany.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that the reaction to the parody is a "wake-up call" for religious and political leaders who remain silent on the issue of growing Islamophobia in America.

In his 630 WMAL program on Sunday, November 26, talk show host Jerry Klein seemed to advocate a government program to force all Muslims to wear "identifying markers." He stated: "I'm thinking either it should be an arm band, a crescent moon arm band, or it should be a crescent moon tattoo." (4:00) Klein said: "If it means that we have to round them up and do a tattoo in a place where everybody knows where to find it, then that's what we'll have to do." (11:38)

[The program focused on public reaction to the removal of six Imams, or Islamic religious leaders, from a US Airways flight in Minnesota last week.]

Some callers to the program rejected discriminatory treatment of Muslims, but others supported Klein's statements and even suggested that even more severe measures be taken against American Muslims. "Richard" in Gaithersburg, Md., said: "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their foreheads; you round them up and then ship them out of this country, period." (15:58)

"Heath" in Upper Marlboro, Md., said: "I don't think you go far enough. . .you have to set up encampments like they did during World War II like with the Japanese and Germans." (23:50)

Later in the program, Klein revealed that his call for discriminatory actions against Muslims was "baloney." Klein said: "I can't believe any of you, any of you, are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything that I have said in the last half hour." (25:15)

To listen to the entire program, go to:
http://wmal.com/showdj.asp?DJID=19978# (Scroll to the bottom of the page for streaming audio.)
http://rope.wmal.com/aud_archive/jk061126.mp3 (download)

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Listen to the entire program. Jerry Klein was NOT advocating discriminatory measures against American Muslims. He was actually ridiculing and exposing anti-Muslim bigotry.]

"The public reaction to Mr. Klein's courageous parody should be a wake-up call for American religious and political leaders who remain silent in the face of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in our society," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Americans of all faiths must come together to marginalize extremists and to challenge ethnic and religious bigotry."

[Send a letter of thanks to Jerry Klein for exposing anti-Muslim bigotry in our society. E-MAIL: Jerry.R.Klein@abc.com COPY TO: info@cair.com ]

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

- END -

My best to you all -- and I'll return to work and be back on the air as soon as possible after my surgery.

-- Jerry

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