He didn't say he was concerned because they were Muslims, he was concerned because "they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims." He's saying it is their fault he is scared, that he (and his listeners) are ok in getting mad at these people for making them scared. He doesn't own it, they do. If they would only change how they dress to make him comfortable, there wouldn't be a problem. That statement is what crossed the line, what incites hatred and bigotry.
No, he didn't say it was their fault that he is scared, and he most certainly didn't say that he was mad at these people or that it was OK for others to be as well.
He wasn't, at all, suggesting that they should change the way they dress.
You have completely distorted what he said.
He simply acknowledged what millions of Americans feel. He didn't justify the feeling or call for any action to be taken as a result.
He was presenting a true dilemma that absolutely exists:
1) Self-identified muslims have been responsible for highly visible acts of actual and threatened terrorist violence, and in far, far greater proportion to any other group in the world, let alone America.
2) Self-identified muslims repreatedly have promised more and greater acts of violence
3) We can not readily identify the self-identified muslims who wish to engage in violent acts and so we fall to a natural instinct for pattern recognition. People who look like intense and sombre muslims generate anxiety in us when we are in airplanes or subway cars with them.
4) This is not fair to the millions of muslims, no matter how they dress, who have absolutely no desire or intention to engage in violents acts.
5) No personal or societal actions should be taken as respects muslims because of this reaction
It doesn't help address the dilemma to deny that millions of people feel such anxiety or condemn them as stupid or immoral for experiencing it.
I travel about 50% of the time and so I am on airplanes quite a bit.
People who I, rightly or wrongly, identify as muslims often travel on the planes I am taking. On the great majority of occassions I feel no concern or anxiety, even though it is quite possible that anyone of them might have explosives in his underwear. The odds are against me being the victim of a terrorist attack on a plane, just as they are against me being the victim of a hydrolics failure.
One day, however, I was on a flight on which six young men who a great majority of people would have identified as "muslims" boarded. They didn't look like Atta, they looked like the other 9/11 terrorists. All of them had grim looks on their faces and none of them sat together. In and of itself meaningless, but pattern recognition started to kick in. A seventh boarded and sat in front of me in First Class. He was wearing a rather shoddy suit, but certainly not "muslim garb." He took the blanket made available to him and pulled it up to his chin. When the flight attendant tried to interest him in a drink or the meal he shooed her off in a surly manner.
Since I am here posting this comment, obviously there wasn't a muslim terrorist attack on that flight.
It's quite possible that all of these young men were grim and surly because they felt like they were being unfairly scrutinized, but I don't feel stupid, wrong or immoral for experiencing my anxiety. I also strongly doubt any of our A2K warriors in the fight against bigotry would have felt any different than I did --- unless they went to sleep as soon as they hit their seat.
Since then I have flown with many another individual who seemed to me to be muslim. I didn't experience fear or anxiety, but it wasn't because I don't believe muslim terrorists are a threat.
When I was a kid there were a series of episodes in our neighborhood in which children were bitten by dogs. As it turned out, there were two German Shepherds doing the biting. From that point forward, whenever a stray dog that even looked like a German Shepherd entered the neighborhood, all the kids ran home and their parents encouraged them to do so.
Obviously not every dog, that was or looked like a German Shepherd, entering our neighborhood was hell bent on mauling kids, but it was a perfectly natural reaction to fear them. People were not stupid or immoral for doing so. They also didn't try to shoot each and every one of them that came down our street or crossed our yard.
If people like Juan Williams feel anxiety when sitting across from muslims on a plane, they way to address this issue can hardly be to label them stupid or immoral.