Hypocrisy it is.. The sentence ‘Congratulations, Michael Berry your message of hate resonated all the way back to Lahore’ hits the nail. He confessed how low his mind and soul can go to prove his point but didnot acknowledge that he is insensitive enough to fall low just to earn ratings for his show.
“I’ll tell you this — if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up. I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up.”
Those comments aired live on the radio, less than 36-hours before half-a-dozen terrorists armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide jackets stormed into two Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, killing at least 95 people and injuring over a hundred worshipers.
But that message of hate wasn’t aired in Lahore or even in Pakistan. It was aired live across Houston, Texas.
The man behind the comments was Michael Berry, a former Houston City Council member and an award-winning radio talk show host with KPRC-950 AM.
In fact, the Michael Berry Show, which the comments were made on, was recently named the #1 talk show at 5 pm in the state of Texas. The show also won first place in the Houston Press Club Awards for best radio talk show in 2008.
Berry’s audacious comments were made to a live caller named Tony, who wanted to respond to the host’s opening comments in the show about how plans to build a mosque near Ground zero in NYC would be ‘disaster.’
Michael Berry: Tony on the West side I see you’re a big fan!
Tony: Hey Michael, I’m wondering if you are a bigot or..
Michael Berry: What’s a bigot?
Tony: Let me just get my point and then you can talk all you want because that’s what you do
Michael Berry: Okay…
Tony: Now you so eloquently put it that they were terrorists in 9/11, that’s fine everyone agrees with it, then you beautifully go on to say they are building a mosque. Who is this they? Who is this ‘they,’ you are talking about? I’m an American Muslim, so I’m not an American? I can’t build a mosque where I want to? How are you attaching criminals who flew planes, terrorist, murders who flew planes in 9/11 and linking them to building a mosque in New York?
Michael Berry: Is Tony your real name?
Tony: It is my real name. It’s my real name because people have called me Tony since I was born. That’s why. But what difference does it make what my name is?
Michael Berry: You just don’t sound like a Tony. Alright, well here’s the deal
Tony: Uh huh
Michael Berry: No! No Tony, you can’t build a mosque!
Tony: Why not?
Michael Berry: At the site of 9/11
Tony: Why not?
Michael Berry: No you can’t…and I’ll tell you this if you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up!
The complete live call can be heard here.
The caller Tony responded to Berry’s comments by saying, “Good for you! That puts you right in the category of the people who flew the planes.”
And then the following conversation took place:
Michael Berry: really?
Tony: Yes, you people are exactly the same as those terrorists who flew those planes.
Michael Berry: Who is you people?
Michael Berry: Who is you people? Whatever your name is.
Tony: You people, you right-wing nut jobs. That’s who you are.
Michael Berry: Let me tell you something Tony. It’s the right wing nut jobs that are going to keep this country safe from people like you.
Tony: Hold on, saving from who? Who are you saving us from ? Saving from me?
Michael Berry: No. Listen. You are in a building box. Its right wing radicals like me that are going to keep this country safe for you and everyone else from the people that are flying the planes from the countries that you fled from. Okay? If you want to identify with those people, go live with them. If you want to live in countries where they are practicing radical Islam: if you want to live there and be a part of that, Then by all means, whatever your real name is go do it. If you feel offended that we don’t want a mosque on top of 9/11. Then you have no shame or you are full of audacity.
Comments like that coming from a popular radio host in the city I live in aren’t just hurtful, they are scary. He clearly had no problem equating the 9/11 terrorists with ALL Muslims. And he had no problem making a call for “bombing a mosque” live on the airwaves in a city with 17 mosques and close to 200, 000 Muslims.
People like Michael Berry are killing the spirit of liberty and civil rights that define the United States of America.
Berry actually had the guts to say to the caller, “Is Tony your real name? You just don’t sound like a Tony.”
The irony is his own wife of 17 years, Nandita Berry, goes by “Nandy”. According to his about Michael Berry page she “was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. They are the proud parents of 3-year-old “Michael T”, who was born in Ethiopia.”
So while this white right-wing public rep cum radio host boosts of his diversity ‘by being married to an Indian immigrant and having adopted baby from Africa’ he also calls for a mosque to be blown up.
What kind of hypocrisy is that?
As the caller named Tony put it “you are exactly the same as those terrorists who flew those planes.”
‘They’ say they are fighting in the name of Islam and then they storm into places of worship and kill 95 God-fearing Ahmadis.
Congratulations, Michael Berry your message of hate resonated all the way back to Lahore.
PS: Michael Berry graciously issued a half-baked apology on the KPRC-950’s website:
“While I stand by my disagreement of the building of the mosque on the site, I SHOULD NOT have said ‘I hope someone blows it up.’ That was dumb, and beneath me. I was trying to show “Tony” how much I opposed his opinion, but I went too far. For that, I apologize to my listeners.”
But the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is not satisfied. As the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the US, they are demanding action from the FCC (the American version of PTA). In a press release the National Executive Director Nihad Awad has said:
“Calls for acts of violence against houses of worship must never be tolerated or excused. We ask the FCC to demonstrate that incitement to violence is never acceptable on our nation’s airwaves.”
Sahar Habib Ghazi is a Houston-based journalist, who also blogs at www.outsideislamabad.com