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NPR fires Juan Williams over Muslim comments

WASHINGTON - NPR has fired news analyst Juan Williams, also a commentator on the Fox News Channel, after he told Bill O'Reilly that he gets nervous on an airplane when he sees people in Muslim dress.

In a statement Wednesday, National Public Radio said it was terminating Williams' contract over his comments on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor." NPR executives had previously complained about his remarks on Fox and asked him to stop using the NPR name when he appeared on O'Reilly's show.

The latest comments came Monday, when O'Reilly brought on guests to discuss his own appearance last week on ABC's "The View," during which Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set to protest his views on Muslims.

"Where am I going wrong here, Juan?" O'Reilly asked.

Williams, 56, responded that too much political correctness can get in the way of reality.

"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams said. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." He went on to say that not everyone in a religious group should be lumped together with extremists.

NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller said that controversial opinions should not come from NPR reporters or news analysts and that whatever feelings Williams has about Muslims should be between him and "his psychiatrist or his publicist."

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