... 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.
(The elided portion was the obligatory "I am not a bigot" disclaimer.)
I wonder if I would get fired from my job because I said that seeing people covering their face in public creeps me out.
For the record (just in case any potential employers are reading this), I get creeped out when anyone covers their face in public when it's not Halloween. Man, woman, Muslim, Zoroastrian... I am an equal opportunity cynic when it comes to people being unwilling to show their face in public. The reason is very simple: I grew up in Western culture, where covering your face is done almost exclusively in order to conceal your identity in preparation for the commission of a crime, or, occasionally, simply to scare people. Covering your face in public in Western culture is something that Just Isn't Done. It's just as shocking, perhaps even as offensive, as wearing a bikini in public would be in a conservative Muslim culture.
In fact, that's not a bad analogy.
[UPDATE:] William Saletan over at Slate has, as usual, some worthwhile perspective.