Tomorrow, the British Parliament will hold a hearing on the “roots of violent radicalisation” in the Muslim community in that country. The first witness before the committee will be Rep. Peter King (R-NY). King will reportedly be the first member of Congress to ever address a committee of Parliament.
While there is nothing wrong with hosting a hearing examining violent radicalization among British Muslims — just as the British government is probing radicalization among the far-right in Britain — it is a serious error in judgment to invite King. The congressman has been both a vocal supporter of anti-British terrorism in the past and conducted one-sided terror hearings in the U.S. more intended to paint all Muslims with a broad brush than delve into the roots of radicalization.
As Salon’s Justin Elliott documented earlier this year, King was a vocal supporter of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while it was committing terrorism against British civilians. In 1982, speaking at a pro-IRA rally, King said the United States should pledge “support” for the “brave men and women” using terrorism to resist the British presence in Northern Ireland:
“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.”
King, who has said Muslims are “an enemy living among us” and that there are “too many mosques in this country,” is not an appropriate “expert” to testify about radicalization in the United States. Additionally, multiple witnesses that King had wanted to call during his own investigation had to withdraw or be dis-invited due to their anti-Muslim bias. One witness withdrew because he was involved with a militia that tortured and killed Muslims, and another was rejected because of her stridently anti-Muslim views targeting not just extremism but the religion itself.
Despite the fact that almost twice as many terror plots since 9/11 came from non-Muslim groups, King refused to widen his hearings to examine radicalization in other areas. He even questioned the patriotism of Muslims in the United States, accusing the community of not cooperating with law enforcement authorities — despite the fact that around a third of terror plots that have been broken up since the 9/11 attacks were broken up with the help and assistance of Muslim American communities.
It hardly seems fitting to invite a man who has been involved in advocating for anti-British terror groups and whose own investigation into Muslim terror was incompetent and politicized to be the first Member of Congress to ever testify before Parliament on an issue as important to address as homegrown Muslim radicalization.