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King hearings

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US-wide racial profiling commences; do you feel safer?

In December 2010, Congressman King announced that when he became chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee he would hold hearings on the radicalization of Wikipedia:American Muslims. "The overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding citizens," he said, overreaching a little in compensation; the overwhelming majority, surely, would be pretty close to average?

In 2011, at the opening of the "Radicalization" hearings, King warned Americans not to forget 9/11, and yet his own records apparently go back only two years, in which time frame no "Neonazis, environmental extremists, or other isolated madmen", as he puts it, have been charged with major acts of terrorism. Although the Homeland Security Committee chair cites Justice Department statistics claiming that over the past two years fifty U.S. citizens have been charged with major acts of terrorism, and all fifty individuals were motivated by radical Islamic ideologies,[1] one wonders, what happened just a little over two years ago that does not quite fit with the rest of his statistics?

Whenever the right is beaten, it reaches for the biggest weapon that is easiest to wield. Accusation of Political Correctness is a blunt instrument; it never works on anyone who knows they are in the right. The opposition to New York Republican Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. "Radicalization" committee, although they surely must have noticed the faint hint of their success in applying pressure to King prior to the proceedings, must have felt the phrase lacked its usual sting when he used it to explain why he was continuing his hearings: "to back down would be a craven surrender to Political Correctness".

Using the phrase in the middle of a battle which relies entirely on Patriotic Correctness for its very existence probably shows that the Right, never very good at seeing the relative values of things, is not aware of the danger of cognitive dissonance when the two PCs are placed in such close proximity.[2]

King had earlier claimed that Islamic clerics are telling their congregations to ignore extremism.[3]

The first hearing, held on March 10, 2011, was entitled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.” John Stewart of the Daily Show has a quick wit, but he is the first to point out that anyone who gets their news from a comedy show deserves what they get at the polls. So did anyone else notice that the, "...and that Community's response" part of the hearings was requiring of the "...American Muslim Community..." to have done a job that the combined forces of the entire Homeland Security network had already failed to do?[4]

Stewart also reported on the inconsistency between the Congressman's aim of "rooting out terrorists" in the 21st Century and his "rooting for terrorists" in the 20th.[5] But then, even Wikipedia knew that one. Well, they knew that he had supported the IRA. There was no comparison between the two periods of time.

The hearing included testimony from Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is one of two Muslims in the U.S. Congress, Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca. Others to provide testimony included Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and Founder of the American Islamic Forum; Marvin Bledsoe, whose son was arrested in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Abdirizak Bihri, the Director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center.[6]

Reactions
Wikipedia:Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the committee which Congressman King heads, has responded by saying that "none of these [law enforcement and intelligence] officials have backed King’s assertions that the Muslim community has not been helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks."[7] In a letter written to King Rep. Thompson demanded that the scope of the hearings be widened to include all extremist groups in the United States, disregarding any ideological underpinnings.[8] Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca said that there was nothing to support King's claims of non-cooperation by American Muslims. Baca invited King to Los Angeles to show the cooperation between Muslim-Americans and law enforcement; a King spokesperson declined to comment on the invitation.[9]

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in a letter to Congressman King claimed that his call was sweeping and misguided, calling for a meeting with King to discuss his initiatives, the proposed hearings, and the efforts of the Muslim American community in fighting radicalization.[10]

The Council on American Islamic Relations joined 50 other organizations, including Amnesty International, the Sikh Coalition, the Japanese American Citizens League and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and put out a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi stating:[11][12]

Singling out a group of Americans for government scrutiny based on their faith is divisive and wrong. These hearings will inevitably examine activities protected by the First Amendment, an affront to fundamental freedoms upon which our country was founded. It harkens back to hearings held in the 1950s by then-U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy. That dark chapter in our history (McCarthy era) taught us that Congress has a solemn duty to wield its investigatory power responsibly (McCarthyism).

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the conservative religious organization, American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by Pat Robertson[13] as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the building of the Park 51 mosque,[14] which King had accused of receiving terrorist funding. Sekulow invoked the flag waving (WP) buzzwords 'our nation' and 'homeland', along with some more traditional loaded words like 'havoc', 'manipulating', in his declaration of support for Rep. King and the hearings.

“Without question, there’s a troubling factual pattern of American Muslims becoming radicalized and focusing on creating havoc here on U.S. soil. This hearing is designed to get to the bottom of what’s taking place in our nation — how al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are recruiting and manipulating American Muslims to attack the U.S. This hearing isn’t about profiling — it’s about protecting our homeland.”[15]</blockquote>

During the Park 51 mosque debate, King had said "There are too many mosques in America". It was clearly a turn of phrase, as opposed to a call to systematically remove mosques, but it was still a gaffe, and not one that he recognized making until others did, either.[16][17]

Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the committee which Congressman King heads, has responded by saying that "none of these [law enforcement and intelligence|law enforcement and intelligence] officials have backed King’s assertions that the Muslim community has not been helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks."[18] In a letter written to King Rep. Thompson demanded that the scope of the hearings be widened to include all extremist groups in the United States, disregarding any ideological underpinnings.[19] Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca said that there was nothing to support King's claims of non-cooperation by American Muslims. Baca invited King to Los Angeles to show the cooperation between Muslim-Americans and law enforcement; a King spokesperson declined to comment on the invitation.[20]

King’s district has very few Muslim residents, minimizing political backlash from his anti Muslim hearings.

[edit] Citations

[21]

  1. Wan, William (January 24, 2011). "N.Y. Muslims fear congressman's hearings could inflame Islamophobia". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/23/AR2011012304448.html. Retrieved 1 March 2011.</li>
  2. Rep. King Opens Hearings on Muslim "Radicalization" in U.S. Democracy Now!, 11th Mar 2011</li>
  3. Rep. Peter King to hold hearings on 'radicalization' of American Muslims, critics fear witchhunt. Nydailynews.com. URL accessed on 2011-03-10.</li>
  4. March 08, 2011 - Brian Christian Peter King wants to investigate Muslim Americans, and Brian Christian discusses human-like computers. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart - Full Episode. Segment starts at 9:15 on the video. At 11:22: "Wow. It's not enough for US Muslims to be law abiding; to avoid Congressional investigation they have to be actively stopping terror plots."</li>
  5. [http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/thu-march-10-2011-trey-parker---matt-stone </li>
  6. U.S. Government House Committee on Homeland Security Hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.”. U.S. Government House Committee on Homeland Security.</li>
  7. By REP. BENNIE THOMPSON. Homegrown terrorists are not just Muslims. Politico.com. URL accessed on 2011-03-10.</li>
  8. Thompson, Bennie Letter to Chairman King on Radicalization Hearings. U.S. Congress House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. URL accessed on 9 March 2011.</li>
  9. "LA sheriff takes on King". Wikipedia:Politico. 2011-02-07. http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/LA_sheriff_takes_on_King.html?showall.</li>
  10. MPAC's letter to Congressman King. Mpac.org. URL accessed on 2011-03-10.</li>
  11. Yager, Jordy. "Rep. King won't let 'political correctness' derail probe of Muslims". http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/142713-king-not-going-to-bow-to-political-correctness.</li>
  12. CAIR's Letter. (PDF) URL accessed on 2011-03-10.</li>
  13. NYC Panel Clears Way for Mosque Near Ground Zero ABC News</li>
  14. [http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20100805.html Findlaw</li>
  15. McLaughlin, Seth (9 March 2011). "GOP leaders back hearings on Muslims". Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/8/gop-leaders-back-hearings-on-muslims/?page=1. Retrieved 9 March 2011.</li>
  16. Peter King Denies He Ever Said, “There Are Too Many Mosques In America.” Only, He Did.</li>
  17. CAIR Rep Discusses Rep. King's 'Too Many Mosques' Statement YouTube vid of the same clip, cited here as a backup for the other, not the MSNBC commentary that follows</li>
  18. By REP. BENNIE THOMPSON. Homegrown terrorists are not just Muslims. Politico.com. URL accessed on 2011-03-10.</li>
  19. Thompson, Bennie Letter to Chairman King on Radicalization Hearings. U.S. Congress House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. URL accessed on 9 March 2011.</li>
  20. "LA sheriff takes on King". Wikipedia:Politico. 2011-02-07. http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/LA_sheriff_takes_on_King.html?showall.</li>
  21. Contains content from Wikipedia</li></ol>
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