Congressman Peter King’s Muslim McCarthyism

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Congressman Ellison is right. Why don’t sanctimonious crusaders, like Congressman King, hold hearings on the radicalization of racists within politics instead of focusing only on Muslims? Ever since Barack Obama became president there’s been a rising tide of latent racism.

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Are Congressman Peter King’s planned “Muslim radicalization” congressional hearings anything more than xenophobic witch hunts that will promote bigotry against Muslims?

Later this month, Rep. King (R-NY) is holding Capitol Hill hearings, where, he promises to “drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization” of
American Muslims. King claims he has to do this because Al-Qaida is “recruiting Muslims living legally in the United States - homegrown terrorists
who have managed to stay under the anti-terror radar screen.”  He says “Federal and local law enforcement officials throughout the country told me they received little or - in most cases - no cooperation from Muslim leaders and imams.” 

All Muslim leaders and Imams?

A coalition of over 50 civil rights and religious groups—including the San Francisco based legal organization Muslim Advocates—is asking congressional leaders to include other groups, in King’s hearings, or cancel them.

"Our first preference is for him to kibosh the whole thing," Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said. “As it is framed now, the hearings are targeting an entire faith community, and that's not a proper exercise of Congressional authority."

Congressman Keith Ellison—a Muslim—echoed similar sentiments about King’s pending investigation of the American-Muslim community. "I actually approached Congressman King on the House floor and told him that, you know, look, we all need to be concerned about violent radicalization, but not just against Muslims, against anybody," Ellison said. "What about the guy who flew a plane into the IRS or what about the guy who killed a guard at the Holocaust museum?"

Joe Stack,
53, who flew his plane into the IRS building, in Austin Texas, on Feb. 
18, 2010, killing himself and IRS manager Vernon Hunter and injuring 13
people was not a Muslim. Stack wrote a suicide note complaining about

The Holocaust  Memorial Museum shooting was perpetrated by White supremacist James Wenneker von Brunn, 88, on June 10, 2009. Brunn shot and killed 39-year-old Stephen Johns and wounded two security guards. Brunn died before his trial, on Jan. 6, 2010.

"I'm fearful that if you attack a discrete, insular community, that you will make people, good people, withdraw,” Ellison added. “I would like to see Muslim leaders, if they feel that there is some national security threat in their midst, feel comfortable talking to the FBI, talking to local law enforcement."

Unfortunately, Republicans haven’t formally responded to the concerns of religious and civil rights groups, or, of Congressman Ellison’s.

"You know it is worthwhile to find out what turns somebody from a normal citizen into a violent radical,” Rep. Ellison has said. “but to say that we're only going to do it against this community and we're about to change the debate to vilify this community is very scary and clearly has McCarthyistic implications."

Rep. King’s “McCarthyistic” inclination, towards Muslims, shouldn’t surprise us, given, his past bigoted statements. In 2004, King told Fox News’ Sean Hannity “80-85 percent of mosques in the country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists.” King should provide the evidence for such an incendiary allegation. How did he come to the 81% figure? Why not 78% Why not 79% Why not 86%

In 2007, King said “There are too many mosques in this country…There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them.” He later said his quote was taken out of context.

Congressman King, not surprisingly, also opposed the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Center, located several blocks from Ground Zero. He called for investigations into the project’s funding stating the center was “offensive to so many people.” Apparently, to people, like King, all Muslims should be stereotyped terrorists because of the actions of a few. If we follow his prejudiced reasoning, all White Americans should be stereotyped racist murderers—given the history of Blacks being lynched in this country.

Congressman Ellison is right. If King is so concerned with radicalization, why not examine it across the ideological spectrum? Why don’t sanctimonious crusaders, like Congressman King, hold hearings on the radicalization of racists within politics instead of focusing only on Muslims?

Ever since Barack Obama became president there’s been a rising tide of latent racism. We’ve seen bigots, like the Birthers, question this president citizenship. Others, like those showing up at rallies with firearms, implying they’d like to eliminate President Obama. The FBI has reported death threats against the president multiplied by over 400%.

Doesn’t Congressman King care about those threats? What about those radicals violently targeting Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims? Why aren’t these aspects of radicalization, in America, being investigated by King? Is it because those alleged or suspected culprits are, largely, White American men?

King complains that Muslims aren’t helping law enforcement enough. Similar complaints are often made against African-Americans. Does Congressman King, and his friends in law enforcement, expect people to help them when they routinely discriminate against minorities en masse?

The Tucson shootings should’ve given all Americans pause—especially politicians like Peter King—in avoiding unfairly demonizing any group.

What does King expect to achieve from this, besides, creating more divisiveness in the currently charged climate? Will he require Muslims, in these hearings, to prove they’re loyal Americans? When attacks spike against Muslims, as they did after 9-11, will King take responsibility?

The United States needs needs enlightened leadership, not McCarthyism against Muslims.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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