Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly has been on an Islamophobic tear lately. O’Reilly initially took heat for saying that “Muslims attacked us on 9/11” and he has since defended that claim, saying that “there is a Muslim problem in the world.” After receiving criticism for that statement, O’Reilly defended himself again, claiming that there is a “Muslim problem” because “good” Muslims don’t combat extremism — a point radio host Don Imus told O’Reilly was not “accurate.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) seems to have picked up on O’Reilly’s spurious reasoning, telling Imus yesterday that leaders in the Muslim community “do not cooperate”:
KING: It’s not just people who are involved with the terrorists and extremists, it is people who are in mainstream Islam, leaders of mosques, leaders of Muslim organizations who do not come forward and denounce, officially denounce, officially cooperate with the police against those extremists and terrorists. So, it goes beyond the terrorists and the extremists and also includes those in what others call mainstream Muslim leadership.
King didn’t provide any evidence that Muslims aren’t cooperating with authorities. While many Muslim leaders have complained of a heavy-handed FBI presence in their communities, American Muslims have been integral in combating domestic terrorism. As Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, according to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, “About a third of all foiled al-Qaida-related plots in the U.S. relied on support or information provided by members of the Muslim community.” Indeed, a Senagalese Muslim immigrant who works as a vendor in Times Square was the first to bring the smoking car that was part of the failed Times Square bombing plot to the police’s attention. And the father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — who failed in his attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit last year — alerted U.S. authorities of his son’s “extreme radical views” months before he tried to carry out the attack.
Moreover, a recent academic study found that American contemporary mosques are serving as a deterrent to the spread of extremism and terrorism. The New York Times noted that the study found that “many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.” “Muslim-American communities have been active in preventing radicalization,” said study co- author David Kurzman. “This is one reason that Muslim-American terrorism has resulted in fewer than three dozen of the 136,000 murders committed in the United States since 9/11.”
King’s claim that Muslim organizations in the U.S. aren’t denouncing terrorism is simply false. For example, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading American Muslim organization, unequivocally condemned terrorism and has launched numerous anti-extremism campaigns.