On Thursday, Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will open his investigation into the American Muslim community. The hearings, ostensibly about America’s terrorist threats, are narrowly targeted at Muslims. King has refused to broaden the investigation into other well-documented terrorist groups, like the “Sovereign Citizen” movement. In fact, King has promoted his hearings in the media with inflammatory rhetoric, declaring there are “too many mosques” in the country and that Muslims aren’t American when it comes to war.
King said he originally planned to invite only Muslims to testify about the threat of American Muslim radicalism. To hear more about this strategy, we spoke to “radical Islamophobe” activist Brigitte Gabriel at the 2011 CPAC conference. Gabriel, profiled in the New York Times today, has pushed a campaign of excluding Muslims from public office, blocking the construction of mosques, and legislating bans on communities practicing Sharia. In February, Gabriel’s anti-Muslim group “ACT! For America” co-sponsored a hate rally captured on video by CAIR.
In a candid interview, Gabriel told us that King intentionally avoided hosting well known anti-Muslim activists like herself or Robert Spencer for the hearings. Instead, Gabriel said King decided to use Muslim witnesses because then the media “cannot attack the Muslim messenger”:
FANG: Are you going to be asked to be a witness to any of these hearings?
GABRIEL: No I am not. Congressman King is going to present, is going to have only Muslims who are warning about this issue. Here is why. [...] If he brings someone like me on, all the liberal media and all the Muslim organizations are going to attack him because they’re going to call me an Islamophobe. But if he brings a Muslim, a still practicing Muslim who is going to talk about the Muslim Brotherhood project, what is the liberal media going to do? How are they going to attack him? Instead of attacking the message, the light is going to be shining on the message because they cannot attack the Muslim messenger. While if he brings people like me, or Steve Emerson, or Bob Spencer or all the other people, the attack is going to be on us, the light will be on us, and no one will pay attention to the message.
Also during the interview, Gabriel declared that “Glenn Beck is right” about his theory that pro-democracy protests in the Middle East and Egypt are part of Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to create a global caliphate:
GABRIEL: Glenn Beck is right in what he’s talking about and what I’m holding in front of me right now is the Muslim Brotherhood project for North America. [...] The Muslim Brotherhood wrote a plan in 1982. It’s a one hundred year plan for radical Islam to infiltrate and dominate the West and establish an Islamic government on Earth.
FANG: So what’s going on in Western Europe and North Africa, what’s going on in Egypt, this is all part of the plan?
GABRIEL: [nods] In the counter-terrorism circles this plan became known as The Project. [...]
FANG: Is Peter King, in his hearings, is he going to talk about this issue? And is he going to ask about this wider, global threat; its happening in Egypt, its happening in Western Europe and frankly it could be happening here?
GABRIEL: Exactly. He’s going to be talking about these issues.
Gabriel explained to us that she consults King and his staff regularly on Muslim issues. In fact, when Gabriel’s new anti-Muslim television show debuted earlier this year, King was the first guest.
Despite his media savvy “Muslim messenger” approach, King cannot hide his ties to bigoted figures like Gabriel or their toxic ideas. A new video by ThinkProgress’ Jeff Spross debunks many of the claims King has made in justifying his investigation.
Reporting on a tip from a reader, Politico noted this morning that Rep. Peter King (R-NY) worked with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s (R-WI) counsel when King was a young lawyer. McCarthy counsel Roy Cohn, who helped prepare for the senator for his witch hunt hearings, later worked at the firm Saxe, Bacon & Bolan with King.