Fox News pundit Juan Williams has spent the last week expressing outrage at the suggestion that his claim that Muslims are frightening when they wear “Muslim garb” is anything less than an outstanding, professional journalistic observation. Juan Williams insists that he’s not a bigot, because he’s not afraid of Muslims, just so long as they don’t go around bothering people by looking like Muslims.
But just what is this “Muslim garb” that Juan Williams was talking about? Would Juan Williams talk about Amish hats and dark pant suits as “Christian garb”? Muslims wear all kinds of clothes, just like other people. There are different ways to be Muslim, and so there are different ways to dress as a Muslim. Most Muslims dress as members of their larger cultures, whether that’s in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia or the United States.
Here in the USA, is Congressman Keith Ellison not wearing “Muslim garb” when he puts on a business suit to go to work in the U.S. House of Representatives? Is Juan Williams worried that the red stripe in Representative Ellison’s tie is some kind of secret Muslim terrorist code?
The idea of scary “Muslim garb” put forward by Juan Williams isn’t just bigoted. It’s absurd. That’s the point made by a great new site that calls itself simply Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things. They’re wearing military uniforms, ice skates, three piece suits, football uniforms, mohawks, sunglasses, sweater vests, cowboy hats…
… is Juan Williams scared when he sees people on an airplane wearing those things?