Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will kick off his anti-Muslim hearings tomorrow on Capitol Hill which he claims will look into the radicalization of the Muslim-American community. In the face of widespread criticism of his witch-hunt, King has refused to back down, saying he is not going to bow to “political correctness.” King has made a number of erroneous and false claims in defense of his crusade, claiming that 80 percent of American mosques are run by radicals and that Muslims aren’t doing anything to combat extremism. Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart observed of King’s hearings:
STEWART: It’s not enough for U.S. Muslims to be law-abiding to avoid congressional investigation, they have to be actively stopping terror plots? Oh my god, wait until they find out that I’ve done nothing to stop the West Bank settlements!
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted last night, “If you had had hearings on this 20 or 30 years ago, and said, ‘I’m a Protestant guy and I’m going to hold hearings on the radicalization of American Irish, and I’m going to look [for those] who might be supporting the provisional wing of the IRA, that would have been seen as a pogrom.” In fact, that sort of McCarthy-esque sleuthing may have rounded up King himself, as the New York Times reports today:
“We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry,” Mr. King told a pro-I.R.A. rally on Long Island, where he was serving as Nassau County comptroller, in 1982. Three years later he declared, “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the I.R.A. for it.” […]
[T]he I.R.A. was carrying out a bloody campaign of bombing and sniping, targeting the British Army, Protestant paramilitaries and sometimes pubs and other civilian gathering spots.
Stewart also aired a clip of King on CNN from 1995 in which he said, “I will say tonight what I’ve said for the past 25 years is that the moral standing of the IRA is equal to that of the British army.” “Wow!!” Stewart remarked, “wait until Congressman Peter King gets a hold of terrorist sympahizer Peter King! That’s going to be a shit storm!” Watch the clip:
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King defended his support for the IRA, saying, “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.” By that logic, perhaps King also supports other terrorists groups, such as ETA, that also have not attacked the U.S.
Debunking one of King’s main justifications for his hearings, CAP’s Matt Duss reported yesterday on the Wonk Room that a new study by the Muslim American Public Opinion Survey (MAPOS), the largest study of Muslim Americans ever done, “finds that involvement with the mosque, and increased religiosity increases civic engagement and support for American democratic values.”