Wednesday, 9 March 2011

"Peter King's Obsession"

Poor Peter King.  He’s the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security [ref]. He has announced hearings into why so many young Muslims in the US become radicalised and he’s copping it from both Left and Right.  From the Right because they reckon he’s not speaking to enough experts known for expertise in radical Islam – eg Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim apostate and prolific author.  From the Left because they abhor the very thought of such hearings – victimising one minority, the rebirth of McCarthyism, and so on.
Today the editor of the New York Times weighed in and trashed King and his hearings.  By the time they closed comments there were some 220-odd and my reading of them is that they were pretty much 100% against the hearings.  The themes were:  McCarthyism (ad nauseam), unfairness,  un-American, anecdotal, he’s compromised by his previous support of IRA violence, and so on.
Even some supporters fear the hearings may be counter-productive: they may radicalise moderate Muslims.
My own concern about the hearings is not that they’re being held.  After all, whatever they naysayers say, it’s fact that the vast majority of terrorism is Islamic and an investigation into why American Muslims are buying into the radical story ought to be seen as necessary and uncontroversial.   And all those “moderate Muslims” we hear about ought to be behind the hearings. My concern is more that they polarise the two sides of the issue around terrorism and radicalism.  Yet terrorism is indeed something that only a “tiny minority” engages in. You’re far more likely to die of a bee sting, or lightening, than from a terrorist attack.  And as the Duke University study quoted in the NYT Editorial indicated, there were 10 Muslim Americans arrested last year on terrorist charges, down from 18 in 2009.  That’s not fine, but nor is it all that scary. 
But focus on terrorism means that the focus is away from the quieter but more dangerous threat: the constant pressure from Muslims – both radical and less – for the spread of Sharia, the so-called stealth jihad
This is not some crazy conspiracy theory. Conspiracy implies secrecy; there’s nothing secret about the desires of Muslims of all stripes to bring Sharia to the west. See my “Islam in figures” for example, for polls showing that a majority of Muslims in the US and the UK favour implementation of Sharia law.  Already the UK has 87 Sharia Courts, and the baleful influence of these is set out in One Law For All’s report on it – OLFA being the brainchild of the wonderful Maryam Namazie, a former Muslim and now anchor on Bloomberg, so her left-of-centre credentials are impeccable.
In the US, the Muslim Brotherhood has committed itself – in writing – to overturning the US constitution and has many front organisations working to that end.
March 7, 2011
Not much spreads fear and bigotry faster than a public official intent on playing the politics of division. On Thursday, Representative Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is scheduled to open a series of hearings that seem designed to stoke fear against American Muslims. His refusal to tone down the provocation despite widespread opposition suggests that he is far more interested in exploiting ethnic misunderstanding than in trying to heal it.
Mr. King, a Republican whose district is centered in Nassau County on Long Island, says the hearings will examine the supposed radicalization of American Muslims. Al Qaeda is aggressively recruiting Muslims in this country, he says. He wants to investigate the terror group’s methods and what he claims is the eagerness of many young American Muslims to embrace it.
Notice that the hearing is solely about Muslims. It might be perfectly legitimate for the Homeland Security Committee to investigate violent radicalism in America among a wide variety of groups, but that doesn’t seem to be Mr. King’s real interest.
Instead, he is focusing on one group that appears to have obsessed him since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, resulting in slanders and misstatements that might have earned him a rebuke from his colleagues had they been about any other group. More than 80 percent of the mosques in America are run by extremists, he has said, never citing real evidence. Too many American Muslims are sympathetic to radical Islam, he said.
Most pernicious, he has claimed that American Muslims have generally refused to cooperate with law enforcement agencies on terrorism cases. He has cited no evidence for this, either, but a study issued last month by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found just the opposite. The American Muslim community has been the single largest source of tips that have brought terror suspects to the attention of authorities, the study found. (It also found that the number of American Muslims found or suspected to be part of terror operations dropped substantially in 2010.)
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has written to Mr. King pleading with him to postpone or reframe the hearings. It said his single-minded pursuit “will inevitably stoke anti-Muslim sentiment and increase suspicion and fear.” Terrorists should be identified by behavior, not religion or ethnicity, the group said. All of that has been dismissed as political correctness by Mr. King. Fortunately, he has not seemed to gather much enthusiasm from his fellow Republican leaders.
Denis McDonough, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, aimed a speech directly at Mr. King on Sunday when he said at a Virginia mosque that this nation does not practice guilt by association. An unrepentant Mr. King later told The Times that there is no need to investigate any other group.
Mr. King plans to call as witnesses two family members of Muslims linked to terror groups, as well as Zuhdi Jasser, the leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Republican who has echoed Mr. King’s suspicions. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who is one of two Muslims in Congress, is also scheduled to testify, though he opposes the hearings.
Democrats on the committee plan to call Leroy Baca, the sheriff of Los Angeles County, who has often said that American Muslims have been crucial in helping terrorism investigations. But that involves empirical facts and expert observation. Nothing could be further from the real purpose of Mr. King’s show trial.