Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 20, 2010

PETER KING KNOWS JUST HOW TO MAKE A SITUATION WORSE.... Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the more shamelessly anti-Muslim members of Congress. This sentiment will manifest itself in a disturbing way in the next Congress.

The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls "the radicalization" of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year.

Representative Peter T. King of New York, who will become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was responding to what he has described as frequent concerns raised by law enforcement officials that Muslim leaders have been uncooperative in terror investigations.

He cited the case of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan man and a legal resident of the United States, who was arrested last year for plotting to bomb the New York subway system. Mr. King said that Ahmad Wais Afzali, an imam in Queens who had been a police informant, had warned Mr. Zazi before his arrest that he was the target of a terror investigation.

"When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders," Mr. King said.

It's hard to know where to start with so many layers of wrongness here, but let's note from the outset that King's premise is backwards. One of the reasons the United States has traditionally avoided the kind of religious strife seen in other countries is that America doesn't have a "radicalized" Muslim population. On the contrary, thanks to the fact that we separate religion and government, prohibit discrimination on religious grounds, have civil rights laws, and embrace the principle of equal opportunity, the United States is generally a model of how to avoid the radicalization of minority faith communities.

Indeed, whether Pete King is able to appreciate this or not, one way to radicalize a group of people is for the government to single them out, treat them as a suspect class, and make reckless accusations while suggesting their civil rights are somehow negotiable.

Also note, King isn't just random backbencher, prone to rhetorical excesses on Fox News -- we're talking about the man who'll be chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in a few weeks.

Abed A. Ayoub, the legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, reminded the NYT that King prefers to ignore the Muslim leaders around the country who've already worked closely with law enforcement officials, especially in the wake of 9/11.

"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," Ayoub said, adding that King's proposal "has bigoted intentions."

It does, indeed.

Steve Benen 3:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Preists who take confession from murderers don't help police. Priests who know of child molestation by other priests do not help police. It would seem King has a bigoted agenda. Who'd have known?

Posted by: Mudge on December 20, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rep King has little regard for Civil Liberty RIGHTS
and only a passing acquaintance with the Constitution of the United States of America or for that matter the State of New York.

Elected I am sure because of his warts and
toady ability to pee on cue.

Posted by: R L Pete Housman on December 20, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget that Peter King was one of, if not the, loudest American cheerleader for the IRA when they were blowing up shit in Northern Ireland.

"Mr. King's support for the IRA was unequivocal. In 1982, for instance, he told a pro-IRA rally in Nassau County: "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."

It's not that he's against terrorism - it's just that he's against non-white led terrorism - and/or Catholic on Protestant violence...

Posted by: polldancer on December 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

People like King, Haley Barbour, Kyl and McConnell are a disgrace to their offices and to the American public.

Shame on them.

Posted by: jjm on December 20, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Now this is the point at which I start to not get it:
the corporatocracy and the ownership class obviously gain something (at least in the short term*) by having regressive tax policies; low gov't expenditures on services to the citizenry; little or no regulation on businesses from the perspectives of worker rights, consumer rights, shareholder rights; unlimited immigration (both legal and otherwise); and a cowed, complicit, divided, and terrified/terrorized populace.
It's becoming more and more clear that they powers-that-be no longer need an American middle class to buy their goods/services or to work for them, so they see no need to sacrifice anything at all to maintain the existence of a middle class.
But WTF good is it going to do for the Fortune 500 (or the shareholders that own them) to create, or allow to be created, a radicalized element within our own borders, as the Europeans have done within theirs for half a century? Where's the payoff to them, and in what possible forms?
It made perfect sense to me that the CheneyBush cabal went out of their way to tamp down the anti-Muslim flareups within their party, and their elective coalition, both from external (economic and diplomatic) and internal (security) perspectives.
Why suddenly does that more productive, more rational stance no longer hold sway?
Any theories?

*though only in the short term. The record makes it clear that almost everyone, including the rentier class, does better under progressive policies and Democratic governance than under regressive, Publican administrations. Yet they'd rather have the Publicans in power. Can they really enjoy being relatively richer than everyone else so much that they're willing to be less rich in absolute terms in order to attain that? I can't see any other explanation -- but that's a rant for another day.

Posted by: smartalek on December 20, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Peter King is trying to start a religious war with American Muslims. Judson Phillips is trying to start a religious war with the Methodists. Which Republicans are going after the Catholics? How about the Jews? I guess the First Amendment doesn't say anything about freedom from a Republican pogrom?

This country is getting scary and I am a white male Episcopalian.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

One of the most idiotic, most racist members of Congress - with the very safety of this country very much in his hands.... good luck to us all -- especially to those who locked hands with the teabaggers as a way to prove just how much more liberal they are than everyone else.

Posted by: June on December 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin 2012, it's coming baby!

Posted by: Trollop on December 20, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

A radicalized Muslim community is what King is after. He needs an enemy and if he can prod someone into doing something violent he can say "I told you so."

Posted by: Tom on December 20, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

King's financial and political support for the IRA coincided with the terrorist group's alliances with Palestinian, Lebanese, Latin American, Basque, Corsican, German, and Breton terrorist groups and the Libyan government of Muammar el Qaddafi. NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercepts demonstrate that Libya and Lebanese terrorist groups targeted Americans in terrorist attacks during the 1980s, while King supported their Irish compatriots with money and weapons.


Posted by: GOPhuckYourself on December 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

And one of the first to go after Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Funny that.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on December 20, 2010 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Poledancer, you hit it right on the nose, I seethe
every time I hear the name of Peter King, having lived in the UK through the IRA bombings, a schoolfriend of mine was paralyzed by the Brighton Hotel bomb, from the neck down, many innocent Irish were bombed at a religious ceremony for remembrance day. I sat on an underground train for ages while a bomb on the line ahead was defused.
Yes Peter King - champion of terrorism.

Posted by: js on December 20, 2010 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

The politics of fear only work if you have a populace afraid of someone, and who better to be afraid of than someone living in your midst? Divide and demonize is the path to political domination. We've seen this before.

Posted by: Seould on December 20, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fenian bastard....

Posted by: Mike on December 20, 2010 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Peter T. King, fund raiser for terrorists until 6 years ago, when he finally broke with the Provisional IRA (the bomb-making terrorist part of the IRA).

I guess it's OK as long as it's white Irish Catholics doing the bombing, eh?

Peter King - proof the English were right about the Southern Irish in at least one instance.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 20, 2010 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK



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