Was Klein's purpose to expose growing hatred for Muslims? Or did he have in mind provoking his listeners to make concurring comments so as to bring in CAIR?
After all, CAIR is no stranger to WMAL Radio. According to this July 28, 2005 press release from Anti-CAIR:
ABC DISNEY BACKS DOWN TO THREATS FROM CAIR, FIRES CONSERVATIVE TALK HOST OVER STATEMENTS REGARDING ISLAM AND TERRORISMIn contrast to CAIR's reaction to Michael Graham's comments and to his explanation thereof, CAIR is pleased with the results of Jerry Klein's spoof:
Conservative talk-show host Michael Graham was suspended without pay today by ABC Disney after threats from the Council for American-Islamic Relations over his on-air comments regarding terrorism and Islam.
Despite repeated statements of support for Graham's free-speech rights by management at 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C. ----- the ABC-owned radio station where Graham works as mid-morning host ---- he was summarily suspended pending an "investigation."
"I honestly don't know what Disney is investigating me for, unless it's for doing a compelling talk show that gets people's attention," Graham said. "I thought that was my job."
Graham has been harshly criticized by CAIR for public comments linking the current theology and structure of Islam to the repeated acts of terror in its name. CAIR sent mass e-mails to its members urging them to contact ABC and demand the company to punish Graham for his remarks.
The statements at the heart of the controversy reflect Graham's opinion that, as he puts it, "Because of the mix of Islamic theology that --- rightly or wrongly --- is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don't support terror will step forward and re-claim their religion."
Ironically, CAIR announced today that a group of US Muslim scholars were issuing a fatwa against terrorism. According to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, the fatwa was issued in part due to criticism from talk radio hosts like Michael Graham.
"Nearly four years after the World Trade Center fell, CAIR is participating in a blanket denunciation of terrorism, and my attitude is "better late than never." If our conversation on 630 WMAL helped CAIR finally take this long-needed step, then we've done something good for the future of Islam," Graham said....
RADIO SPOOF DRAWS SUPPORT FOR NAZI-LIKE TREATMENT OF U.S. MUSLIMSThe story about Jerry Klein's spoof has elicited a lot of attention, according to Klein's own statement on November 28:
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....
I've been overwhelmed by the response to Sunday's show (click ... if you'd like to hear a recording). Besides being interviewed by the Reuters news service, and having both NBC4 and WUSA TV9 here in Washington feature this story prominently on Monday night's newscasts, I've heard that other talk show hosts and bloggers have now joined the conversation. By early Tuesday, I've stopped counting the emails you've sent me from all over the world in response to my contention that as Americans, we need to be careful that we don't allow our concerns over terrorism to push us over the line towards discrimination against all Muslims, and in fact all Arabs, whether Muslim, Christian, or any other faith. Thank you for your words of support. I'll try to respond to everyone -- but it's going to take a little time.FYI...Jerry Klein is sort of odd-man-out at WMAL Radio, which also presents programs from Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. The WMAL Radio web site refers to Jerry Klein as "WMAL's Favorite (Pet) Liberal?" The following is his biographical sketch from the station's web site:
Jerry Klein is 630 WMAL’s Senior Producer, and Producer for The Chris Core Show. He was born in Philadelphia, but grew up and spent most of his life in Charlotte, NC, where he was an award-winning talk-radio host, concert producer, weekly columnist, record store owner, the program director for a non-profit center for community and culture, and a psychological counselor. (Jerry says, "That’s code for I’ve led a very full and colorful life.")
He moved to the Washington area a little more than five years ago to finally marry the love of his life. Jerry has two sons, Josh and Ben, and relies on his cat, Yogi, for spiritual guidance - though, he says, "All assistance in these matters is gratefully accepted!"