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The conversation: Peter King's controversial Muslim hearings

Muslim

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, begins hearings Thursday on what he’s called "the extent of the radicalization" of American Muslims. It has been the subject of great controversy.

The questions that Rep. Peter King is right to ask

To ignore the religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb to politically correct delusion. To ignore the homegrown religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb even further. […]To listen to King's critics, you would think he was urging modern-day internment camps for Muslim Americans. […]Yes, there are other sources of terrorism. Radical Islam is the biggest and most dangerous. And, yes, King is a flawed questioner. But the question he poses is an appropriate -- and important -- one.

-- Ruth Marcus, the Washington Post

Shouldn't King identify a significant threat to national security first?

If the radicalization of American Muslims is, as King suggests, a significant and growing threat to the nation's security, then hearings should by all means be held.

The problem is that King hasn't identified such a threat, and certainly not at a level that would justify singling out one religion to be targeted for special scrutiny.

-- Editorial, Los Angeles Times

The hearings will unfairly exasperate Islamophobia

We stand together with a broad spectrum of religious and secular leaders who believe that fighting terrorism does not require compromising our nation's core values and highest ideals. In our experience volunteering and breaking bread with Muslims on Long Island, we are inspired by our neighbors' commitment to worship in peace and pursue the American dream. We have visited mosques in an effort to understand our Muslim brothers and sisters' beliefs and proud traditions. We have seen their dedication to serve others, especially those with few resources, and have worked together as Jews, Christians and Muslims to speak on behalf of peace and nonviolent solutions to conflicts. Muslims are doctors and teachers, police officers and business owners. They are a part of our American family and should be treated with dignity.

-- Rabbi Mark A. Gruber and Sister Jeanne Clark, OP, the Huffington Post

The hearings will accomplish nothing

What King will get, if he gets any cooperation at all, will be little more than a dog-and-pony show. It will explain nothing and reveal less about the sources of homegrown terrorism. No matter how much King's witnesses condemn violence or exhort U.S. patriotism, they're not likely to stop a Pakistani or Somali immigrant who decides to strap on a bomb.

-- Gregory Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

 Demonizing a community won’t fight terrorism

We need to stop demonizing an entire community. This is simply not the way to fight terrorism. And it's not who we are, as Americans. We must be able to separate radical extremists, like members of the Al Qaeda cult, from moderate Muslims who share our same values.

--Matthew Alexander, the Huffington Post

In fact, Muslim Americans do cooperate with law enforcement in terror investigations

"I will tell you in no uncertain terms that the community has on multiple occasions come forward and assisted law enforcement," said Michael Rolince, who headed the counter-terrorism division in the FBI’s Washington field office from 2002 to 2005.

-- EthicsDaily.com

Trust is the key to our shared security

My first concern is that the Republican Party is coming to be associated with Islamophobia, and King's hearings seem to be contributing to this trend. My greater concern is that, while individuals are attracted to radical ideas for many different reasons, perceptions of marginalization and persecution for one's beliefs or identity are well-documented contributors to radicalization.

-- Ingrid Mattson, the Washington Post

A better way

Instead, Muslims should embrace the chance to explain their beliefs fully and clearly. We have nothing to hide. But members of Congress also need to act responsibly. They should avoid broad accusations, and be aware that the hearings will be closely followed worldwide. The actions of both groups will shape America's relationship with Islam, and the relationship of American Muslims with their country.

-- Akbar Ahmed, the New York Times

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Photo: A protester holds up a sign on Sunday in New York at the "Today, I Am A Muslim, Too" rally to protest against a planned congressional hearing on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism.  Credit: Henny Ray Abrams / AP Photo

 

Comments () | Archives (27)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Bob Cr

Why are the Muslims so afraid of telling the truth. Are they afraid that by discussing Radical Islam and Imans they will get killed by Al Queda? Why would Liberals not care if there are any Al Queda cells operating and recruiting Muslims in the US? Do Liberals think Al Queda makes a distinction between Liberals and Moderates and Conservatives? Why are Liberals so afraid of the truth?

LAH

Although I think all religions are wacky, I have to admit that, today at least, Islam has more extreme wackos than other faiths. Nevertheless, I think Mr. King's motive for holding these hearings has nothing to do with the very small risk that a handful of American Muslims might inflict death or destruction and everything to do with the political advantage that comes from the demonization of a minority. Politicians have long resorted to that demonization tactic, including California miners against the Chinese, Germans against the Jews, McCarthy against "Communists" or Arizona Republicans against Hispanics. In King’s case, however, I am afraid that it may have the paradoxical effect of encouraging disaffected Muslim youth, perceiving persecution, to engage in the very violence that King claims he is attempting to avert.

Verballistic

Anyone who says there is "no identifiable threat" from RADICAL ISLAM in this country has had their heads in the sand.

In November 2009 a RADICALIZED Muslim named Nidal Malik Hasan massacred 13 innocent Americans at Fort Hood, Texas after shouting "Allahu Akbar". Hasan had been PERSONALLY MENTORED over the Internet by an Al Qaeda REGIONAL LEADER named Anwar Awlaki (AQAP). Awlaki has subsequently boasted about the massacre and praised Hasan for his "JIHADIST ATTACK".

Last summer we barely averted MASSIVE fatalities in Times Square when a RADICALIZED MUSLIM named Fahsal Shahzad attempted to detonate high-powered explosives that were fortuitously discovered before detonation.

Congressman King's hearings are specifically intended to avoid more successful Islamic attacks in the future. After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, the US Congress had SIMILAR investigations regarding the "white militia movement" and NOBODY complained that white militias were being "singled out" because back then, they a legitimate, significant threat.

ANYONE who denies there is a legitimate threat by HOMEGROWN Islamic terrorists is almost as disingenuous as those who deny the Holocaust took place...at least many Holocaust deniers can claim ignorance because it happened before they were born.

Deniers of the radical Islamic threat have NO SUCH EXCUSE...it is happening right under our collective noses.

Verballistic

@LAH

If in fact "disaffected Muslim youth" are being antagonized by "perceived persecution", the blame is not on King or others who seek to STEM the radicalization of US Muslims.

The blame clearly lays at the feet of those constantly crying about "Islamophobic persecution"...professional agitator groups like the Saudi-funded, PRO-HAMAS pressure group called CAIR.

The reason CAIR, MPAC, ISNA & other apologists for RADICAL Islam are so worried is because it is THEIR radical connections most likely to be exposed during such investigations.

In fact, CAIR has already been implicated of terrorist-funding during the HLF terrorist-funding trial, in which HLF was found GUILTY of illegally funneling $12+ MILLION to such Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas (officially designated an Islamic TERRORIST group by the Clinton Administration in 1997).

Don't take my word for it...just Google the words "FBI REJECTS CAIR" and you will come up with numerous articles about how the FBI ended all cooperative relations with Saudi-funded CAIR after CAIR was implicated for terrorist-financing. That severed relationship stands to this day...CAIR should be forced to register as an agent for a FOREIGN GOVERNMENT because of their EXTENSIVE financing by the Saudi royal family.

Ed Brazas

Muslims complain, but I never hear any cries of outrage when their fanatical terrorist brothers commit acts of barbarity.They are complicit in their silence.

Willie

The rabid anti Muslims who contribute to this paper are the same people that bash Mexicans, Gays, Blacks and any other minority that hits the news. I suspect that many of these generalized bigots have never actually spoken to a Muslim, and are clueless about Islam and don’t understand that Muslims include a quarter of the world’s population and greatly outnumber the population of the USA. The Right wing has grown fat and powerful by piggy backing on the religious and racial fears of these people, and has hoodwinked these people into voting against their own economic interest. No matter what the Right tells you, please understand that business is not going to stop illegal immigration, and will do nothing in the Muslim world that may disrupt oil supply, because business wants your cheap labor and wants obscene oil industry profits, Additionally business is indifferent to abortion, gay marriage, pistol packing, flag pins, apple pie, Christian Values or any other social issues that they have cynically used to gain your support. Relax guys, the Muslims have been around for 1500 years and they haven't killed us all in our beds yet. However, history has proven that business has, and will, ruthlessly exploit us if given half a chance.

xexon

Idiots.

Muslims are not the problem in this country. It's people just like yourselves who've been lead around by your religious testicles and patriotic babble all these years.

You have such a superficial understanding, you're prime targets for this kind of social engineering and manipulation. The very same thing that's gotten us into numerous messes around the world these past several years.

Your enemy is already here and has been for decades.

And they look like you do.


x

madsircool

"The rabid anti Muslims who contribute to this paper are the same people that bash Mexicans, Gays, Blacks and any other minority that hits the news. "

Ahhh...but Gays, Mexicans, blacks and other minorities havent murdered tens of thousands of people around the world. They dont send their children to blow themselves up in public places. They dont stone their women to death because they are raped. They dont blow up other religions treasures.

And its myopic at best to compare the threat of radical Islam to the threat of anything else in this country: Radical Islam has financing and infrastructure. And its supported passively or aggressively by a large swath of the Muslim population. Its important to attempt to root this out before innocent lives are lost. Maybe your life. Maybe mine.

Frank

Now I know just how much you Americans love your enemies both real but more usually imagined. I mean how else are you going to justify that enormously bloated defence bill, but really "muslims under the beds"? Oh dear.

Now back in the 1950's this kind of nonsense played really well but this is the 2000's. The era of the internet, multi channel tv, cheap foreign travel and I doubt the majority of sensible Americans will see this for exactly what it is. Fear mongering for publicity and profit.

One more point. In a country that is awash with guns Americans have far more chance of being shot dead by another "christian" American than being killed by a "muslim" terrorist. Maybe you should form a committee to look into that? Just a thought.

Kathleen Clark

Since we are having hearings on "radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community", I am requesting that my Congressional representatives ALSO convene hearings looking into the radicalization of the U.S. Evangelical Christian community. I am tired of seeing and hearing from this sector that Catholics are not Christians, gays are dangerous, immigrants are suspicious, intellectuals are a threat to "the American way", Middle Eastern immigrants of the Coptic church "aren't real Christians", and all non-Christians (meaning non-evangelicals) are undesirable in our nation. These radical Christians still support the killing of those involved in legal activities such as contraception education and abortion (see their websites). They support the harrassment and "hazing" of those they deem undesirable in their neighborhoods (see their websites). Members of these "wholesome" groups are the perpetrators of such acts. These radical Christians are native-born and pervasive ALL across the U.S. Our tax money should go towards investigating the dangers this much-larger, well-armed threat pose to our democracy and our freedoms.

K. Clark

Do Americans really want to repeat the acts of the 1940s? After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. demonized all Japanese immigrants and their American-citizen children. We imprisoned them and took away their property and incomes. Mostly because many ignornant people were afraid of these "outsiders" (ie non-whites, non-Christians). NOW many Americans want to treat similarly our immigrants from Islamic nations, their children and other followers of Islam. The justifications are that these people are "different", they are "unfamiliar", and other people of their faith or nation of origin committed acts of war, so "all of them" must be suspect in order to "keep us safe". Really ? Again ??? Our nation tardily apologized for imprisioning an entire population based on fear of "others" 60 years ago. The fear and mistreatment of the Japanese-Americans in the 1940s should stand as a lesson to us, a good reason why we should not go down this same path again. (In fact, after WWII it was documented and realized that there were no substantial threats from the Japanese community in the US, but at same time there were thousands of radicalized Nazi-sympathizers and paid-off (i.e. greedy) accomplices in the US, most "good" Americans, who often came very close to committing huge destructive acts, and who usually went undiscovered at the time because they were "regular Americans"---- white, Protestant, U.S. born. There's a lesson for us there, too.)

Verballistic

@Willie AKA "ramblinbill"

Nice try at regurgitating your cut & paste tricks from your "ramblinbill" persona. Most of those who oppose RADICAL Muslims at LA Times forums are well-versed on that issue & do not oppose Mexicans, blacks or other minorities.

It is you pro-Hamas, anti-Israel bigots who are in direct opposition to the legacy of Martin Luther King. Dr King was a friend of Israel and proudly embraced Zionism, a word which you Israel-haters love to use an "insult".

This has no comparison to the witch hunt of Joe McCarthy and his "commie paranoia"...no "commies" flew jetliners into skyscrapers & killed 3,000 innocent Americans in the process, like RADICAL Muslims did on 9/11.

No "commies" shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he massacred 13 innocent Americans like the Fort Hood Jihadist Nidal Malik Hasan did. Hasan was PERSONALLY RECRUITED over the Internet by Al Qaeda Regional Leader (AQAP) Anwar Awlaki, who later boasted about inspiring Hasan's terrorist attack & PRAISED him for his "GLORIOUS JIHAD".

That is the kind of radicalization King's hearings intend to PREVENT and terrorist enablers like CAIR, MPAC, etc oppose the hearings because they fear exposure of THEIR radical connections.

Pasquino Marforio

The LA Times should be careful about writing anything that is seen as criticism about Islam.

Which means they should go exactly counter to their editorial policy on any other religion.

It's not the they are scared. I remember the furious campaign they mounted when Theo Van Gogh Was Murdered by an Islamic Terrorist.

I remember how they courageously championed the right of free speech Of Danish Journalists.

I remember how they courageously championed, always, the right of free speech on any topic.

Okay, that is fantasy.

Shut up LA Times. You only talk truth to the power that lets you.

dano100

Bob Cr,
What are you talking about? Who are these "liberal" Americans who do "not care if there are any Al Queda cells operating and recuriting: in the U.S.? Your disortion of people who disagree with your point of view adds nothing to the conversation and reduces your credability to ZERO.

Bob

What is controversial about asking questions? Why is there so much antagonism toward asking questions and a public hearing? Who is so afraid and why?

xexon

Verballistic,

"It is you pro-Hamas, anti-Israel bigots who are in direct opposition to the legacy of Martin Luther King. Dr King was a friend of Israel and proudly embraced Zionism, a word which you Israel-haters love to use an "insult"

As someone who orginally hails from Alabama and the old south and saw the civil rights movement firsthand, let be be the first to slap you on behalf of MLK. You hasbara love to drag this man of peace into your lair and call him friend.

The reality is Dr. King was a simple religious man and unaware of the "other" zionism that is causing so many problems in the world today.

Read this next part slowly:

Martin Luther King would have NEVER supported racist, apartheid Israel.

Ever.

You need to get your zionist wet dreams somewhere else.


x

Gloria Hacken

Thank God for an elected official who has the backbone to defend and protect our country. Ask the Muslims living here, studying here and enjoying their freedom who they would support in a showdown with the Muslim terrorists and the Americans??? We are too soft and can be badly hurt by looking the other way. Many Muslims in this country are here to hurt us. I see it in my area everyday. When 911 happened they were cheering in the street! Do you really think these people would support us? Wake up Americans and support Rep. King for his courage to stand out and protect us from the radicals and terrorists that are lurking around the corner. I for one praise him and thank him for making me feel a little safer.

xexon

Where is your area, Gloria?

I bet you watch Fox news too, don't you sweety?


x

Verballistic

Further evidence that all the PHONY "outrage" about these hearings in forums like this is MOSTLY being perpetrated by paid staffers & volunteers from RADICAL Islamist front groups like CAIR, MPAC & ISNA, who flood forums like this with nice infidel-sounding names posing as "concerned non-Muslims" who pretend to be "standing up for those poor, abused Muslims" (who have it WAY better here than they do in other nations).

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-03-09-muslim-congressional-hearings-poll_N.htm

"A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds most Americans do not believe U.S. Muslims are too extreme in their religious beliefs, yet a MAJORITY also find it APPROPRIATE that Congress examines the radicalization of some members of the Muslim community.

The new poll finds that 52% of Americans say the hearing is appropriate, and 38% believe the hearing is inappropriate. 10% had no opinion.

The poll also found that more Americans think Muslims living in America are committed to their religion than think they are supportive of the United States."

I know...I guess that makes the MAJORITY of Americans "Islamophobes", but that is FAR better than the gruesome alternative:

"Islamophobia"=Muslims getting their FEELINGS hurt

"Infidelphobia"=NON-Muslims & FORMER Muslims getting KILLED

Verballistic

@xenon

Since you are OBVIOUSLY ignorant of Martin Luther King's ACTUAL words on Israel & Zionism, here is an excellent article by his long-time friend & civil rights pioneer John Lewis, now a US Congressman from Georgia:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2002-01-21/opinion/17527128_1_american-jews-peoples-israel-arab

On March 25, 1968, less than two weeks before his tragic death, he spoke out with clarity and directness stating, “peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."

During an appearance at Harvard University shortly before his death, a student stood up and asked King to address the issue of Zionism. King responded, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews, you are talking anti-Semitism."

Next time do your homework before running your mouth on issues you know VERY LITTLE about.

svivar9087

What a complete waste of time and money, EXCEPT for Dr.Jasser, who took this mockery and used it to address
his people of faith.

IsthisRealLife

@Verbalistic


The only verbal thing you are good at is CAPITALIZING words.

If CAIR, ISNA and MPAC were terrorist organizations they would of been under investigation by the FBI. We have a great FBI intelligence organization, I am sure they know what is going on with them. Its people like you who feel threatened by organizations that defend the rights of minorities. You, like Rep King probably feel that there are "too many mosques" in America as well.

Its people like you who also called the NAACP a terrorist organization in the 1960s. As a BLACK, MUSLIM AMERICAN, I am more worried about a WHITE, CHRISTIAN SUPREMACIST hiding in my neighborhood waiting to blow up our MLK parade.

I trust our FBI and if they want to find terrorists they will as they regularly visit mosques and its congregants. Rep King and his likes are wasting tax dollars on these hearings attacking an entire community of 8 million muslim instead of focusing on why our foreign policy has supported dictators in middle-eastern countries busy murdering their own innocent civilians.

Maybe we should invest more money into investigating the double standards of our foreign policy. That might get rid of some hate towards America.

michael g

Thank you, Mr. King, for standing up to our Liberal/Progressive media and exposing the Muslims for what they truly are...

BobW

"The hearings will unfairly exasperate Islamophobia" ???
I don't think it would be unfair to exasperate anti-Islam bigots, I wish they'd be exasperated to the point of crawling back into their holes. But I think the LATimes headline writer would have been more on point to use the word "exacerbate"; headline grabbing politicians like Peter King play into the hands of racists and bigots of all stripes.

Coriolana

Mr. King made me ashamed of my fellow Long Islanders. No good comes of such public pillories, especially when they have a supporting terrorist as the ringleader. I suppose it takes one to imagine one...all I can say is this: those who do not learn from history are fated to relive it. And from Mr. King's disgraceful waste of taxpayer dollars, we are now fated to relive internment camps and McCarthyism.

Eric

What Muslims really fear about these hearings is a moral comparison between Muhammad and Jesus Christ. One can criticize the historical evils done by various Christian sects; there were no evils perpetrated by Christianity's founder, Jesus Christ, or his first-century Apostles.

Contrast that historical record with the one left by Muhammad -- wars to force people to follow his religion and his intimate relationship with a nine-year old girl he married when she was six years old.

"A servant can rise no higher than his master." -- Jesus. Anyone who claims to be a "Christian" yet advocates violence against non-Christians is clearly out of step with Jesus' teachings and lifestyle.

If we are to believe that Islam is rooted in peace and that Islamic intolerance and fanaticism are truly fringe aberrations, we have to take a hard look at its founder, Muhammad. However, a close look at his method of spreading his religion and personal lifestyle cause non-Muslims to have reservations about this religion.

Verballistic

Speaking of RADICALIZATION of US Muslims, here is a RADICAL Muslim from one of the US groups rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood...the Muslim Student Association.

The MSA is known at UC Irvine as the Muslim Student Union, which regularly sponsors a racist, homophobic speaker named Malik Abdel Ali, who is the RADICAL Muslim seen in this chilling video leading Muslim students from UCLA chapter of MSA in a "Muslim Student Association PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy3MGIPLevM&feature=player_embedded

Especially chilling is the final line of this twisted pledge:

"I will DIE to establish Islam"...

ANYONE who denies the fact that MSU/MSA is a training ground for RADICAL Islamic Jihadists need only watch this brief 1-minute video.


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