DC Radio Host Fired Over Anti-Islam Remarks

ACTION REQUESTED: (WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/22/05) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a Washington, D.C., radio station's decision to fire a talk show host who stated repeatedly that "Islam is a terrorist organization."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said media reports indicate that WMAL-AM fired host Michael Graham last Friday after he refused to retract his anti-Islam statements, make an on-air apology and conduct additional outreach efforts to the Muslim community and others offended by his words.

The controversy began last month when Graham stated: 1. "Islam is a terrorist organization." 2. "Islam is at war with America." 3. "The problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam." 4. "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam." Other listeners said that Graham even encouraged a public "backlash" against Muslims. (Graham later claimed he meant a backlash of social pressure, not violent attacks on Muslims.)

In response, CAIR initiated a public campaign against WMAL and the station's advertisers after receiving complaints from listeners who heard Graham make those anti-Islam remarks. While WMAL initially stood behind Graham, it changed its position after hundreds of people responded to the group's action alerts by contacting the station and its sponsors.

"Just as Michael Graham has the right to hold bigoted views, so, too, does our society have the right to live free of hatred and incitement," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We are saddened that Michael Graham would not take responsibility for his hate-filled words, but we do welcome WMAL's action as a step toward reducing the level of anti-Muslim bigotry on our nation's airwaves."

Awad thanked the local Metropolitan-D.C. Muslim community, interfaith leaders and the many people in America and worldwide who contacted WMAL and its advertisers to express their concerns over Graham's bigoted comments.


1. CONTACT WMAL to thank the station for making Michael Graham's suspension permanent. CONTACT: Mr. Chris Berry, President & General Manager (202-895-2333), and Mr. Randall Bloomquist (202-895-2327), Program Director, WMAL, 4400 Jenifer Street NW, Washington DC, 20015. Switchboard: 202-686-3100 FAX: (202) 537-0009 (To be on a WMAL talk show, call 202-432-WMAL, toll free 888-630-WMAL.) E-MAIL: randall.bloomquist@abc.com, ernie.fears@abc.com, chris.j.berry@abc.com COPY TO: cair@cair-net.org

2. CONTACT WMAL ADVERTISERS to express your support for the station's decision.




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