Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has promised to launch a series of investigations of Muslim Americans beginning in February. “I’ve made it clear that I’ll focus the committee on counterterrorism and hold hearings on a wide range of issues, including radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism,” he told Newsday. King has repeatedly said that he only wants to single out “Islamic terrorism” in his hearings on domestic security, and has even claimed that there are “too many mosques in this country.”
Joining anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney on Gaffney’s radio program last week, King doubled down on his promise to launch a witch-hunt against Muslims. He repeated a falsehood that he stated earlier — that American Muslims never cooperate to combat terrorism. But in addition to this claim, King made the extraordinary smear that American Muslims aren’t “American” when it comes to war. “[W]hen a war begins,” King said, every ethnic and religious group unites as “Americans.” “But in this case,” King continued, referring to Muslims, “this is not the situation. … Whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should”:
GAFFNEY: It sounds like what you’re recognizing — thank God — is that within the Muslim community, even in this country, let alone elsewhere, folks are finding an environment in which on the one hand it is very easy to be radicalized if you will, to be brought to an adherence to Sharia which leads to jihad. But also, there’s an enomorous pressure on those within the community presumably I would imagine you agree from the Muslim Brotherhood which is much in place in this country to not to come forward, to not help us defeat what really is our common foe: namely the folks that would impose Sharia on all of us.
KING: Yeah, and Frank, this is very unusual for our country because despite a person’s ethnic background or religious background, when a war begins, we’re all Americans. But in this case, this is not the situation. And whether it’s pressure, whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should. The irony is that we’re living in two different worlds. One is the real world that I find when I’m talking with police officers, talking with federal law enforcement authorities. And when I raise the question of Muslim cooperation, they look at me like ‘oh of course not, no there’s no cooperation, we don’t anticipate that.’ You know, ‘We never expect cooperation.’ They try but hardly ever get it.
As ThinkProgress’ Ben Armbruster has observed, King’s assertion that American Muslims aren’t cooperating with authorities and that Muslim organizations in the U.S. aren’t denouncing terrorism is simply false. At an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) reported that, “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 study from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina 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.”
“As of 2006, some 212 Muslim-American soldiers had been awarded Combat Action Ribbons for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and seven had been killed,” the New York Times reported in 2009. On Memorial Day, 2008, the organization Muslim Military Members asked that the Muslim soldiers buried in Arlington Cemetery after dying for their country be remembered:
When you wander the cemetery grounds that overlook Washington, DC, you’ll notice the grave of Army Captain Humayun Khan, who lured a suicide car bomb away from the men in his charge, saving their lives but giving up his own.You might also come across the grave of Army Spc. Rasheed Sahib, an American Muslim from Guyana who was killed in Iraq as well, under mysterious circumstances. And then there’s Army Spc. Omead Razani, a son of Iranian immigrants who also died in Iraq. Also, Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey was killed in a helicopter crash on his way to duty in Iraq. In fact, you’ll find the graves of fallen Muslim soldiers and Muslim veterans in military cemeteries all over the United States, from Hassein Ahmed (Army, WWII) to Ibrahim Muhammad (Navy, WWII), from Mahir Hasan (Army, Korea) to Abul Fateh Umar Khan (Air Force, Korea).