Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is preparing his controversial hearings into the “radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism,” and he wants to make one thing clear: he’s not anti-Muslim. In an interview with the National Review this week, King said, “I do not want anything said at my hearing that could justify someone throwing a brick at a mosque. … I’ll be managing the hearing, so the responsibility is mine, to make sure there is no kind of religious bias or hostility toward Muslims.”
That’s surely a noble goal, but clearly contradicts many of King’s previous statements on Islam. He has said that 80 percent of American mosques are controlled by “radical imams,” and that in fact there are “too many mosques in this country.” King also said in 2004 that Muslims are “an enemy living amongst us.” His upcoming hearings originally featured a witness who believes “Islam is a cult,” though he later pulled her from the schedule.
This contradiction between King’s longstanding animus for Islam and his stated goal of fair hearings is evident even in the aforementioned National Review interview. While King claims to be wary of stirring up Islamophobia, he at the same time seems to establish a different standard of guilt for all Muslims:
“It is not enough for [Muslim leaders] to say that they denounce all terrorism, that they denounce all violence,” King says. “They have to be much more aggressive. I don’t think they fully realize that. They worry that if they came out and highlighted their opposition to Islamic terrorism, it would focus too much attention on the Muslim community, reminding people that these terrorists are Muslims. So they don’t deal with it in an open way.” [...]
“There has not been enough cooperation from the Muslim community,” King says. “That is what I have learned over the past eight or nine years in dealing with law-enforcement officials at all levels. It has been disappointing. There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are good people, but the leadership in their communities has not cooperated enough, nor have they set a tone for cooperation. I want to see that change.”
The National Review claims that “most of the people [Peter King] is calling to testify are Muslim leaders,” that he is “calling on Muslims to speak up,” and that “he is looking forward to giving Muslims a platform to voice their concerns.” But of two panelists that the National Review reports will be testifying – one of them, Walid Phares, is a Maronite Christian.