The Islamophobia gripping the U.S. grows more entrenched by the day. Once confined to the far right, more and more pundits, power-brokers, and politicians are bringing it into mainstream. Apparently unsatisfied with dragging Muslims through the mud, Rep. Pete King (R-NY) is now committed to dragging them before Congress. Elected Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this month, King penned an Newsday op-ed yesterday listing the investigation of “radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism” as a top priority. “ “I will do all I can to break down the wall of political correctness and drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization,” he said.
Civil rights, Constitutional, and sanity advocates have criticized King for repeatedly vilifying the entire Muslim community as obstacles to security. “We are disturbed that this representative who is in a leadership position does not have the understanding and knowledge of what the realities are on the ground,” the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s legal director Abed Ayoub said, adding that Mr. King’s proposal “has bigoted intentions.” But rather than consider, address, or even refute the charge, King embraced it yesterday. Lambasting the Muslim community for its supposed refusal to help expose homegrown terrorism, King told Fox News’ Jaime Colby that if targeting all Muslims makes him a bigot, then “I’m willing to take that hit if I have to”:
COLBY: Talk to me about this investigation that you want to undertake about radicalization. Not everybody is supportive, in fact many have said that you’re looking towards the Muslim community — even though after 9/11 you said that not all Muslims are responsible for what happened on 9/11 — they say you’re a bigot.
KING: Yeah, it’s totally untrue. That’s political correct nonsense. But I’m willing to take that hit if I have to. The fact is that nobody had a closer relationship with the Muslim community than I did before September 11. Since then, I’ve been disappointed that a number of their leaders did not cooperate with law enforcement. There are actual cases in this country where the Imams direct their members not to cooperate with law enforcement on very serious investigations.
And when you talk to law enforcement to around the country including this area here, they will say they do not get the level of support that we need. Now, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are good people, for whatever reason people in their leadership are not cooperative. And I believe its important to have this investigation on radicalization of the Muslim community.
King’s wanton charges against the Muslim community are, in a word, bunk. American Muslims have been vigilant in confronting radical elements, “increasingly engaging the war of ideas being waged within Islam.” As Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) pointed out, “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.” Not only was the Times Square bomber thwarted by a Senegalese Muslim immigrant, but the father of the underwear bomber actually alerted U.S. authorities of his son’s “extreme radical views” months prior to his failed attempt. Earlier this month, one California Muslim community actually reported an FBI terrorist plant to the FBI.
In fact, a recent study found that “many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring anti violence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.” Their active participation in preventing radicalization 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.”
But to King, inconvenient facts are easier to dismiss as “political correct nonsense.” Convinced of the Muslim community’s betrayal after 9/11, King will forever insist that “Muslim leaders have minimized the extent of the problem he had identified.” “They try to tell me that it is not as bad as it seems,” he said. But King, apparently, knows the truth is out there.