Tag Archives: Peter King

The Line Between Investigating and Persecuting

11 Mar

In light of former terrorist-coddling New York Representative Peter King‘s detestable re-creation of the execrable House Un-American Activities Committee, I present to you three videos.

Two of them bring to mind Santayana’s admonition about those who forget history.

The last shows what America is really about.

Have a good weekend.

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Fear and Loathing In D.C.

11 Mar

Yesterday, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives and IRA Sympathizer Rep. Peter King (R, NY-3) held a Congressional hearing entitled “Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”.

As the hearings began, Rep. King defended his decision to hold the hearings saying that the threat of neo-Nazis and lone mad men don’t compare to the threat which Al-Qaeda poses to American citizens. “Despite what passes for conventional wisdom in certain circles, there is nothing radical or un-American in holding these hearings,” he said.

During an interview on Wednesday, King said, “It makes no sense to talk about other types of extremism, when the main threat to the United States today is talking about Al-Qaeda,”

However, Rep. King could not be more wrong.  This was not a hearing about “homeland security”, it was a fear-based witch hunt targeting American Muslims.  There is also significant evidence to the contrary as to Rep. King’s claim that there is no greater threat to our security than Muslims.

As a January 2011 terrorism statistics report — compiled using publicly available data from the FBI and other crime agencies — from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) shows, terrorism by Muslim Americans has only accounted for a minority of terror plots since 9/11.

In fact, right-wing extremist and white supremacist attacks plots alone outnumber plots by Muslims, with both groups being involved in 63 terror plots, 18 more plots than Muslim Americans have been involved in.

I look forward to Rep. King’s investigation into right wing extremist activities in America.

Additionally, King’s hearings come at a time when Muslim American terrorism and involvement in extremism has actually plummeted in the past couple years, according to a Duke University study put out last month. Moreover, nearly 4 in 10 Al-Qaida related plots in the United States have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by the Muslim community themselves and 70 percent of recent terror plots in the United States have been foiled by help from Muslim Americans.

Tending the flames of Islamophobia in this country is a full time job and King was certainly glad to throw logs on the fire.  This hearing served one purpose and one purpose only, to define and conflate the Islamic American community as a perpetual enemy and to identify them as a group of “others” who need to be watched and “surveilled” while providing another election bogeyman for the Republican Party.

Yesterday’s hearing was a shameful display of Congressional power and a reminder of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s HUAC hearings in the 1950’s.  Just as McCarthy’s “Un-American Activities” language presupposed guilt for those brought forward to testify, the title of this event presupposed radicalization of an entire community of Americans.

Rep. John Dingell, (D, MI-15) spoke at the hearing to remind Rep. King that he once witnessed Sen. McCarthy’s hearings and warned against allowing history to repeat itself.

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Rep Brian Higgins (D, NY-27) is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and was present at today’s hearing and I looked forward to his thoughtful take on the hearings.  Throughout the day, I checked his website, Twitter Feed and Facebook page for statements about today’s hearings and all I found was the following:

While I’m glad that Rep. Higgins is concerned with gas prices, visa waivers for Polish people, and something about ice skating, I was looking for some sort of feedback on what was a pretty important news story.  Proving that social media does actually work when a Congressman has a responsive staff, I quickly received a prompt and courteous reply to my requests for comment from Rep. Higgins’ Communications Director.

She provided me with his statement from Committee today which was not available online.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we were all taught that we are not at war as a nation with Islam, we were at war with those who hijacked that religion and used it to justify their murderous and cowardly acts.

From that a lot of relationships were developed between the law enforcement community, local, state and federal, with the muslim community to try to better understand one another.

I think we’re at a point where progress has been made but still much work needs to be done.  When I look at or hear the Sheriff from Los Angeles talk about the programs that have been developed in your community, it’s very similar to that of my community in Buffalo, New York.

A smaller city directly south of Buffalo is Lackawanna, an old steel city that was home to the Lackawanna Six. It was six muslim american men who were convicted of providing material support to al Qaeda by training in their camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

You know, there’s a lot of misunderstanding when you get into this issue and I think people get invested into their own emotional positions that don’t have a factual base. I’ll give you an example: in this nation we have not only a Christian-Judeo tradition, we have a Christian- Judeo-Islamic tradition in this nation.  But the basis of those religions are compassion, forgiveness, love, and tolerance. The prophet Mohamed is a prophet of mercy. In my Catholic religion I was raised by the Sisters of Mercy.

I think we all have a lot to learn from one another about this issue. We have a long way to go. The radicalization of Muslims in America is in large part influenced by the convergence of new technology that allows groups to communicate in ways they never were able to before. I think that provides a basis from which our nation, all our law enforcement agencies in each individual state and locality develop those relationships with the Muslim American community.

In the end we are all Americans and people don’t come to this country by and large (emphasis mine, CS) to create havoc. They come because they thirst for the freedom we have. That’s what they want for themselves and their families.

While Higgins is not known for grandstanding in committee nor making broad-based statements of opinion on issues of import, this is a carefully parsed statement designed to neither grant legitimacy to the larger question about the nature of the hearings nor to appear weak on terrorism.  While the content of his response was expected, I am still saddened to see members of Congress and our community writ large fail to stand up to the type of patriotic bullying advanced by hypocritical blowhards like Rep. King.

Today’s hearing violated the spirit of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment as the purpose of the hearing targeted a religious group by virtue of their religion.  Seemingly put together to smear Muslim American advocacy groups and cast aspersions on their relationships, acquaintances and governing principles, yesterday’s hearing was a case study in fear and loathing.

When injustice and fear-mongering go unchallenged, we do our nation a disservice.  Today, I feel as if an opportunity to fight back a tide of xenophobic ignorance was lost.

HUAC 2: Electric Xenophobaloo

10 Mar

Shorter Peter King: Irish terrorists good, Muslim terrorists bad.

King is a despicable and disgusting xenophobe who is a rank hypocrite.  Let’s be 100% clear – King contemporaneously supported a terrorist organization that indiscriminately blew up innocent Britons during the 70s – 90s. It’s ok if someone supported an Irish republican desire to be free from the UK, or decried British oppression – but blowing people up was decidedy not ok.  Peter King has now decided to put all of American Islam on trial in Congress, and to further denigrate an entire population based on the terrorists acts or thoughts of a miniscule minority.  It is King who is un-American.

Image courtesy of Marquil and EmpireWire.com