Juan Williams Gets in 'Hot Debate' Over 'Muhammad Cartoon Contest'

During Thursday evening's edition of Hannity on the Fox News Channel, political analyst Juan Williams clashed with Pamela Geller regarding the “Muhammad Cartoon Contest” she organized in Garland, Texas, this past weekend. Two Islamic militants tried to attack the event but were shot and killed before they could disrupt it.

At one point in what the Fox News website called a “Hot Debate,” the liberal commentator compared Geller to “a pyromaniac who goes before the judge and says: 'Oh, yes; we're setting those fires just to see how fast the fire department can respond.'”

Conservative host Sean Hannity began the segment by showing a video of Anjem Choudary, a London imam who declared on Wednesday night's edition of Hannity: “Let's be absolutely clear. We're not talking about Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. You're talking about people who deliberately had a competition to insult the messenger, Muhammad.”

Geller “should be put before a Sharia court and tried,” Choudary declared, and “of course, she will face capital punishment” even though she is not a Muslim.

On Thursday, Hannity stated that Geller now faces a “fatwa” death threat from ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which has led her to ramp up her security.

“Where do you stand on this?” the host asked Williams, whose first response was to note that “I'm someone who's been punished” by National Public Radio in October of 2010 for stating during an episode of The O'Reilly Factor that “when I get on the 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."

Soon after being fired by NPR for violating its broadcasting standards, Williams was hired by Fox News to prove that the channel is indeed “fair and balanced.”

Back on Thursday, the analyst stated that “journalists -- legitimate journalists -- cannot function, even people who are satirical like Charlie Hebdo, in a world in which you are threatened with death for what you have to say.”

He added:

I will say this, though. I think if we want to have a serious conversation here about Ms. Geller, that she's like a pyromaniac who goes before the judge and says, “Oh, yes; we're setting those fires just to see how fast the fire department can respond.”

Hannity then stated: “So you're taking the -- well, she dressed provocatively, therefore, she put herself in a position” to be raped – argument before asserting: “You don't blame the victim of an attempted assassination!”

Williams replied that “this event that Pam Geller put on quite intentionally” ... “was provocative in her actions” and intended “to provoke this reaction.”

“You're saying don't offend the sensibilities of those who don't like cartoons,” the host shot back.

Geller tried to join the debate but was abruptly cut off by Williams. She then declared: “Excuse me! I did not interrupt you! I did not interrupt your ridiculous remarks!

“You know what is incendiary?” Geller then asked. “The Jordanian pilot who was set on fire. ... The idea that I'm provocative? No! Murdering cartoonists is provocative!”

She continued:

What I find galling is that my motives are continually questioned by the media, not the jihadists' motives. ... What's her motive? Look at my work! For 10 years after 9/11, I have been opposing sharia and jihad, period. It's the media that have created these myths about me.

I have one question: Why hasn't the media addressed the motive behind the jihadists?

Hannity responded: “If a little cartoon is going to set off people to go kill other people, …  there's no negotiation there. There's no appeasing people that would react that way. And I think it's naive of you to think that if only we didn't have the cartoon contest, they would be nice to us. That's obscene to me!

“The point is,” Williams stated, that you have to go out and set very clear lines and say, 'We do not believe in sharia law. We do not respect it. We are a country of civil, constitutional laws, and you have a right to free speech.'”

He charged that Geller is “not about the real problem” but instead “about self-promotion.”

She complained that the Fox analyst is defending sharia law “by making me the bad guy.”

You are hurting our cause is what you are doing,” Williams said over Geller's vocal objections. “You are hurting people who say sharia law is wrong by generating sympathy for these people who are so crazy!”

Of course, Williams is free to express any opinions he wants, but he doesn't have a death sentence hanging over his head. Here's hoping he never finds out what that's like.

Mohammed Cartoons Hannity Fox News Channel Pamela Geller

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