WASHINGTON – Conservative radio host Michael Graham (search) was fired Monday by a Washington station after he refused to apologize for calling Islam "a terrorist organization."
WMAL-AM (search) had suspended Graham after his July 25 broadcast drew protests from the Council on American-Islam Relations (search). Graham, who had a daily three-hour talk on WMAL, had said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam," according to CAIR.
On his Web site Monday, Graham said WMAL had asked him to retract his comments about Islam and deliver an on-air apology.
"I refused," he said. "And for that refusal, I was fired."
WMAL president and general manager Chris Berry told the industry publication Radio & Records: "Some of Michael's statements about Islam went over the line — and this isn't the first time that he has been reprimanded for insensitive language and comments. I asked Michael for an on-air acknowledgement that some of his remarks were overly broad and inexplicably he refused."
CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said Monday, "Although we are saddened that Michael Graham would not take responsibility for his hate-filled words, we do welcome WMAL's action as a step toward removing some of the harmful anti-Muslim rhetoric that fill our nation's airwaves."
Graham blamed the Muslim group for his firing. "As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show," he said.