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Rep. Peter King: 'Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been A Radical Muslim?'


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Gustav Niebuhr
Author, 'Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America'

Rep. Peter King: 'Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been a Radical Muslim?'

When was the last time a Congressional committee decided to investigate Americans based on their religious affiliation? I thought I knew something about our nation's history, but I admit I'm coming up empty on this one.

So it may well be that Rep. Peter King, a long-serving Long Island Republican, will treat us to something utterly new in American political life, with his hearings, beginning March 10, into the alleged "radicalization" he believes is taking place among the United States' Muslims. King has discussed his plans for months, allowing plenty of time for worry and outrage to build. Five hundred people demonstrated against the idea in Times Square on Sunday, the same day (according to The New York Times) that a White House official visited a Virginia mosque to tell an interfaith group that we in the United States don't do "guilt by association."

Still, it may have been one thing for King to disclose his plans back in November, after Republicans took control of the House in the midterm elections and he became chair of its Homeland Security Committee. But isn't there an argument that his big idea has been superceded by more recent events? Think of the popular (and secular) revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the incomplete one in Libya.

Since January, something like 100 million people in the Arab world have been putting their lives at risk to overthrow brutal tyrannies, all in the name of wanting something a lot closer to what we Americans call freedom and popular rule. Despite various dire statements by the likes of Col. Muhammar el-Gaddafi to the contrary (and isn't he something less than a trusted source?), al Qaeda has had very little to say about this revolt, perhaps because it doesn't fit their own nefarious model.

So here we are, with populations in the Middle East and North Africa rallying to cries of freedom, human rights and self-government -- ideas prized by Americans -- and what are we doing but preparing to hold nationally publicized hearings in Congress (actually, let's say internationally publicized, this being a thoroughly connected world) into the patriotism of... American Muslims!

Does that make sense as a way to win friends and influence people abroad? Whenever those Libyan protestors, ill-equipped with weapons but very well-equipped with courage, decide to take the occasional break from battling Gaddafi's tanks and jets, they might just tune into al Jazeera to watch Representative King's hearings.

I suppose it's possible that someone among those brave fighters might know something about American political history, enough at least to recognize that we Americans have been here before. For 30 years, the House had a committee that looked into "Un-American Activites." The Senate had its own investigative arm, whose determination to track down closet Reds produced that famous question, "Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Small comfort, but at least the supoenas back then did not go to people based on their religion. Where's James Madison, now that we really need him?



Jul 29, 2009
Very good article, Spnadim, and will help us all to think again how much we discriminate different.... b ecause for me the real non discrimination is not only accept the other, but tolerate him, as different withi our societies, because it´s easy to open or accept others as long as they change and thinks and look as we do .... big task.... still undone... and all this help us to know how little or not really well educated US is, their little analysis their supposed (congressmen) ruling class has, .... about history... culture.... thinking that they are or used to be ???? First country in the world.
Thanks again:sippingcoffee:


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Basic...King is holding a large percentage of Muslims on planet Earth responsible for 9/11. It boils down to that. So, why is he doing it? He gains points with his constituency, and perhaps he even gains points with electorates in other cities and states who are suffering from form the same wave of political paranoia that is sweeping other nations (Canada, France, Belgium, and others). Now to be balanced about this, there are plenty of Muslim nations who have a similar, paranoid and intolerant slant on religious minorities: Pakistan, Iran, Saudia Arabia, to name 3. The difference is that the US constitution is written to prevent a stampede of minority rights by the majority - no matter what their religion is. Therefore, what is happening can be nothing more than a miscarriage of the political process.

A glimpse into why he is doing it.

Rep. Peter King's hearing on American Muslims a 'very personal' quest

The Republican's plan to hold a hearing on radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community has drawn criticism. But he says he is driven by the deep feelings that Sept. 11 inspires for him and members of his Long Island, N.Y., district.

March 09, 2011|By Brian Bennett and Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington and New York — For Rep. Peter T. King, Sept. 11 was personal. It was personal, he says, for everyone in his Long Island district, which was home to dozens of the police, firefighters and financial workers who died at the World Trade Center.

And despite concerted nationwide criticism of the Republican's plan to hold a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday on radicalization in the U.S. Muslim community, King says in his district he has nearly universal support.


And Representative Ellison above is saying that American Muslims also made sacrifices. No one is holding hearings on the radicalization of voters in Long Island.

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