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Tilting at Windmills

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March 7, 2011

PUSHING BACK AGAINST PETE KING'S BIGOTRY.... Months in the making, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) will kick off his anti-Muslim hearings on Capitol Hill this week, exploring what he sees as "the radicalization" of the Muslim-American community.

To defend the purpose of his stunt, King argues hearings are necessary for national security purposes -- the Muslim-American mainstream knows of dangerous people, but refuse to come forward. "When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders," King said when announcing the hearings. He repeated this yesterday, insisting law enforcement officials do not "get the level of cooperation that they need" from the Muslim-American community.

The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming: "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.' ... 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.'"

With this in mind, it was heartening to see the Obama White House help with the pushback against bigotry.

The White House is pushing a message of religious tolerance ahead of this week's congressional hearing on Islamic radicalism, which has sparked protests on grounds it unfairly singles out Muslims as potential terrorists.

President Barack Obama sent his deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough, on Sunday to a Washington-area mosque known for its cooperation with the FBI and its rejection of the al-Qaida brand of Islam. [...]

Speaking to an interfaith forum of Muslims, Christians, Jews and other faiths, McDonough, the president's point-man on countering violent extremism, was clear: "We're all Americans." [...]

McDonough said Muslim Americans are not the problem, but part of the solution.

Underscoring the seriousness with which the administration is taking this, the White House was quick to distribute a copy of McDonough's remarks to reporters yesterday. The point wasn't subtle: the president's team sought to remind Americans that "we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.... In the United States of America, we don't practice guilt by association."

McDonough's speech coincided with protests against King's hearings in New York.

In New York, 500 people demonstrated near Times Square to protest the hearings and to call on Mr. King to expand his witness list to include other groups. [...]

As the Times Square demonstrators held up placards declaring "Today I am a Muslim too," Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is a co-founder of a project to develop an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero, addressed the crowd.

"To single out Muslim Americans as the source of homegrown terrorism and not examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist belief -- that, my friends, is an injustice," Rabbi Schneier said.

Expect the hearings to generate an enormous amount of attention on Thursday. Also expect King's argument to fall apart under scrutiny.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Also expect King's argument to fall apart under scrutiny.

What "argument"? Rep. King's lame-ass witch-hunt isn't designed to make any sort of "argument", it's being done for two major reasons, and two only:

1) garner publicity for King and/or the GOP.

2) try to embarrass President Obama and his Administration.

All one has to do to determine the seriousness of these hearings is to check whether or not Pamela Geller is on the "witness" list ("witless" would be more appropriate). A "yes" tells you all you need to know....

Posted by: Jay C on March 7, 2011 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter about push-back . Mr and Mrs Faux Nooze watching mouth breather will see this as a good thing because it plays into their reality as created for them by Faux.

Posted by: John R on March 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it interesting that when a handful of Muslims perpetrate terror attacks, the entire religion is at fault, yet when a Wall Street corrupt to its core and drunk on short-term false profits brings our economy to its knees, we're just dealing with a few bad apples?

Posted by: NHCt on March 7, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Kudos to Rabbi Marc Schneier, for standing up for all Americans.

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 7, 2011 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Rep King may find this despicable but despite the high regard he may hold the president in , and regarding his own rigid personal honor , along with only the most legitimate , serious concerns about this community , there will be those who mischievously construe that the president is a secret member of said community .
Oh dear ! If only there were some way to alert the right honorable Rep King that this mischief were to propagate under his imprimatur , and the corresponding disgrace he brings to himself , if .
Wittingly or unwittingly when rubber hits the road if you only have "One Way" you are proscribed from seeing all the traffic , eh ?

Posted by: FRP on March 7, 2011 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

King is a grandstanding asshole.

Plus, he's jealous.

For years, he was one of the dimmest bulbs in Congress.

But now, with even loonier, and more stupid and ignorant people there, he needs to stay relevant or lose wingnut face time on TV.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well, in Mr. King's defense, a material supporter of the Provisional IRA probably know a thing or two about terrorism....

Posted by: Werewolf on March 7, 2011 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

When will someone speak out about the fact that that the longest and most unrepentant supporter of terrorism in the hearing room is Peter King?

It's called a spoiling attack, and if Peter King is busy trying to pretend there's a difference between Noraid and the IRA, he can't beat the war drums against American citizens.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on March 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

So just for the sake of argument if this King of assholes actully beleives what he's saying I'd love for someone,anyone to ask him prcisely what he hopes to accomplish. What's he gonna do put all the muslims in concentration camps? I can see where ajew might be willing to stand up to this dickhead.

Posted by: Gandalf on March 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats on the committee should be able to use their time questioning witnesses to good effect. Do King's witnesses have evidence? Do they have statistics (and if so, from where)? Do they actually have direct information, or are they "experts" like Pamela Gellar? Can they provide any substance whatsoever to the claims of non-cooperation? Are any of the witnesses police chiefs or commissioners from cities with significant Moslem populations? If not, why weren't these people called as witnesses?

There should be enough here for the Democrats to make King look foolish, if they are willing to ask the right questions and not waste their time bloviating.

Posted by: DRF on March 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

By King's logic, everyone who carries guns or buys fertilizer should warrant federal inquiries.

Posted by: mlm on March 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

In the United States of America, we don't practice guilt by association."

Oh, yes, we do. Just go to any TP demonstration and read the signs. That the founding principles of America included tolerance of all religions (1st amendment) is beside the point. Some of us don't believe in America so some of us do practice guilt by association.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 7, 2011 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone noticed that after a conflict or something tragic happens republicans usually over reach in a way that is rediculously isolating? i mean from slavery to japanese internment camps to jim crow, to communism hearings, terry schiavo, creation of FISA and the Patriot act, creation of DHS and TSA, etc etc. its like they get scared shitless and come up with the best ideas until they realize it wasnt quite so well thought out. this will be one of those moments.

Posted by: Allamr18 on March 7, 2011 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

There's gonna be scrutiny?

Posted by: bignose on March 7, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder when King is going to hold hearings on the Catholic Church. More priests are pedophiles than Muslims fly planes into buildings. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 7, 2011 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

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

1. One of the things you learn in the practice of law is to assume that what people say is the truth.

2. If, by "law enforcement," he means the FBI, but not local cops on the beat, I wouldn't be surprised if he is telling the truth.

3. FBI agents, as a general rule, are overwrought. They do not always inspire confidence. Where I come from, the local police departments, who sometimes have muslim officers, inspire more confidence in people who already feel threatened.

Posted by: Thaumaturgist on March 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Let us not forget that Peter King is a personal expert on the subject of supporting terrorism. It's how he became known in New York politics, as a fund-raiser to buy guns for the Provisional IRA, a terrorist organization with about as much innocent blood on its hands as Al-Qaeda.

Republican terrorist-supporting demagogue. That's the way you describe this dumb mick.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 7, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

As one who was close to an IRA bomb, and who had a fiend paralysed by an IRA bomb, I cannot bear to hear this man's name, I have sent a couple of emails to him asking if he has ever had to testify about his involvement with this group who killed innocent Irish and English citizens, needless to say I never get an answer.

Posted by: j on March 7, 2011 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

So we can expect a parade of law enforcement officials to confirm this lack of cooperation from the Muslim community to back up Rep. King's statements. From what I hear, no we can't.

If that loon wants to investigate terrorism, he should investigate the anti abortion groups who terrorize clinics, harass employees and patients, publish doctor's names and addresses for the unhinged and cheer on the murders of providers. If there is a more dangerous terrorist in the U.S. than Randall Terry, I've yet to learn of them.

Posted by: Kathryn on March 7, 2011 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK



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