Jay Severin, a Boston radio talk show host, had some advice on the subject of Muslims for a caller to his show last week. “You think we should befriend them,” he told Chris from Rhode Island, according to a transcript of the show obtained by a local newspaper. “I think we should kill them.”
Severin also called Muslims in America a “fifth column,” here to “take over the culture and eventually take over our country.” He later defended his comments to a Boston Globe reporter, claiming listeners to his show have heard him say that not all Muslims are terrorists.
A spokesperson for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told the Voice the organization had received a complaint about the incident, but that the FCC “doesn’t have rules regarding violence or calls to violence,” except possibly in cases that involve a “clear and present danger.” The FCC has attracted publicity lately for its crackdown on indecency, and its recent proposal to fine Clear Channel Communications nearly half a million dollars for comments made by Howard Stern.
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told the Voice that he’d noticed a spike in similar hate speech since the killing of four civilian contractors in Fallujah, Iraq. Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR’s director of legal affairs, said the best he hopes for is that the group’s members contact the radio station and the FCC. “Unfortunately, [Severin]’s comments wouldn’t reach the legal and constitutional definition of incitement,” he said.
A spokesman for Severin’s radio station, 96.9 FM Talk, called the flap about the show frustrating, and wondered why CAIR wasn’t more concerned with a recent New York Times article on the growing threat of terrorism in Europe.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 20, 2004