Tucson should make Rep. King rethink Muslim probe
King says he’s worried about the “disconnect,” as he calls it, “between outstanding Muslims who contribute so much to the future of our country and those leaders who–for whatever reason–acquiesce in terror or ignore the threat.”
By that standard, he should have hearings on the failure of Republican leaders to denounce Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs” Web page and Sharron Angle’s invocation of “Second Amendment remedies” to Big Government and her opponent in the Nevada U.S. Senate race, Harry Reid.
Of course, that is no business for the Homeland Security Committee. Imagine the response if King’s Democratic predecessor, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, had tried to summon Palin and Angle, not to mention Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, to testify at such hearings.
King’s announcement of hearings last month proved incendiary, with law-abiding U.S. Islamic groups and such prominent individuals as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, protesting that such an attention-getting forum will only further “vilify” them.
“I got so concerned that when I heard about it I actually approached Congressman King on the House floor and told him that, you know, look, we all need to be concerned about violent radicalization, but not just against Muslims, against anybody,” Ellison said on MSNBC. “What about the guy who flew a plane into the IRS or what about the guy who killed a guard at the Holocaust museum?”
Critics might counter that Muslim accused terrorists, such as Ft. Hood’s Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan or airline “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, are far more dangerous than the figures Ellison cites.
Or even Jared Loughner, the accused Tucson murderer, who is being portrayed less as a lone operator and more as an exemplar of right-wing extremists (or just opportunists) who demonize liberals.
Rep. King said he promised Ellison, “If you want, you can testify. You can have a panel of your own. And it’s not going to be a setup. We’re not going to be taking shots at you.”
But he hinted at just that when he said in his announcement that he would “do all I can to break down the wall of political correctness and drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization.” And let’s not be naive: There are Muslim bashers who will find in the hearings a platform, whether they’re testifying or just spouting off on the Internet, to connect Muslim organizations to terrorism.
I do not mean to minimize the influence that the vicars of violence such as Anwar al-Aulaqi have on a deranged individuals who happen to be Muslims. If anything, the Tucson killings, as well as the Kennedy and King assassinations and Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing and countless other “senseless” acts of political violence, show that homicidal maniacs emerge from all kinds of political riptides and psychological hells, not just Islamic ones.
Why single out Muslims, at least at this particular time? They are already under the constant watch of the FBI. The U.S. intelligence community, meanwhile, not to mention think tanks and universities, have already spent untold fortunes reporting on, not to mention blunting, the appeal of radical Islamism, as anyone can find with a simple Internet search, including King. If they’re not doing enough to short-circuit terrorist acts, the Homeland Security Committee should hold hearings on that.
Now is exactly not the time to throw more gasoline on the fire by opening hearings whose main purpose seems to be to pressure U.S. Muslim leaders into showy denunciations of terrorism.
Original post: Tucson should make Rep. King rethink Muslim probe