NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night.
The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”
Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly.
He continued: “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. But 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.”
Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Mr. Williams said.
NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”
The public radio organization said it thanked him for many years of service. Mr. Williams did not immediately respond on Wednesday night to an e-mail seeking comment.
Mr. Williams’s contributions on Fox raised eyebrows at NPR in the past. In February 2009, NPR said it had asked that he stop being identified on “The O’Reilly Factor” as a “senior correspondent for NPR,” even though that title was accurate.
Alicia C. Shepard, the NPR ombudswoman, said at the time that Mr. Williams was a “lightning rod” for the public radio organization in part because he “tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox.”
Ms. Shepard said she had received 378 listener e-mails in 2008 listing complaints and frustrations about Mr. Williams.
Video of Juan Williams's and O'Reilly's comments about Muslims:
ETA: Some of Mr. Williams's Fox News analyst colleagues react to the news:
Bernie Goldberg, a Fox News contributor and author of several books on what he describes as liberal media bias, offered his take Thursday morning in an email to The Upshot.
"So Juan Williams is fired for saying something the liberals at NPR find controversial?" Goldberg said. "One more piece of evidence that liberals have forgotten how to be liberal."
Goldberg continued: "These are the kind of people who brag about how open-minded they are -- as long as you agree with them. And here's the dirty little secret: lots and lots of liberals feel the same way Juan does when they get on an airplane. And a lot of those liberals work at NPR. Juan's 'crime' was saying it out loud."
Weekly Standard Editor and Fox contributor Bill Kristol also had some choice words for NPR, which he dubbed "National Politically-correct Radio." Kristol concluded a post about the firing by saying: "NPR -- unfair, unbalanced ... and afraid."
ETA 2: Juan Williams responds to being fired by NPR. Upset he didn't get the courtesy of getting "to come in and do this eyeball-to-eyeball?"