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Un-American Activities: US Rep. Peter King’s Coming Demonization of American Muslims

| February 27, 2011

The Islamic Center of Jacksonville has had its share of detractors--and was itself firebombed by an unknown attacker.

The Islamic Center of Jacksonville has had its share of detractors--and was itself firebombed by an unknown attacker.

By Michael Keegan

In March, the House of Representatives will begin hearings on preventing domestic terrorist attacks. Rep. Peter King, the lawmaker leading the hearings, unfortunately has made it clear he intends to use his post to stoke fear and suspicion about American Muslims rather than explore critical homeland security issues.

Of course, we must confront and punish violent extremists. But our elected officials must be the first to acknowledge our security is threatened not by the millions of Americans who practice Islam, but by a handful violent extremists, Muslim and non-Muslims.

Michael Keegan

Rep. King, in his highly public hearings, intends to explore the “radicalization” of American Muslims and what he sees as a lack of cooperation between Muslim communities and law enforcement. Before he starts, King should look at what the experts say. The nation’s top law enforcement official, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, recently said that “the cooperation of Muslim and Arab-American communities has been absolutely essential in identifying, and preventing, terrorist threats.”

The actions of a handful of violent extremists don’t represent the beliefs of an entire faith community. In fact, National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter, in earlier testimony before Rep. King and the Homeland Security Committee, said that the prevalence of violent extremists in American Muslim communities was “tiny…a minute percentage” of the U.S. Muslim population.

Local law enforcement officials agree. This month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who oversees one of the largest law enforcement operations in the country, in one of the nation’s largest American Muslim population centers, said he hadn’t seen any evidence of the lack of cooperation that King claims exists: “Muslim Americans in the county of Los Angeles have been overwhelmingly astounded by terrorist attacks–like everyone else–and overwhelmingly concerned about a non-repeat performance of that kind, and are willing to get involved and help.”

The Live Commentary

We’ve seen hearings like Rep. King’s before. In the 1950’s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy exploited widespread fears provoked by the Cold War to launch a ruthless hunt for what he saw as a wide web of communist subversion in the United States.

McCarthy targeted individuals not by their actions, but by their identities and affiliations. In doing so, he destroyed the careers of many innocent people and succeeded in further spreading a culture of fear and suspicion that did nothing to make the United States safer. Rep. King, relying on speculation rather than fact, and targeting a large and diverse community of Americans simply because of their religion, threatens to do the same.

Americans don’t want to return to the fear and resentment of the McCarthy era. If Rep. King is serious about his goal of preventing violence, he should expand his investigation to include all forms of dangerous extremism, and refrain from stirring up fear and demonizing millions of patriotic American Muslims. There’s a place for a serious look into extremism in America. But any such investigation should be based on fact, not fear.

Michael B. Keegan is the president of People For the American Way.

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24 Responses for “Un-American Activities: US Rep. Peter King’s Coming Demonization of American Muslims”

  1. LivingInReality says:

    If one member of the Islamic faith being a terrorist/extremist the by the same token I could call members of the Christian fail extremist because of the abortion bombers and hate filled speech from their extreme members. So why don’t we start holding investigation and hearing on Christians as well.

  2. Yellowstone says:

    Was Timothy McVay (Oklahoma bomber) an Islamic? How about the Unibomber? Perhaps they were Baptists, Catholics, Agnostic?

    Act like a mature, intelligent adult. Before running after those that appear to be different because of there race, religion, color, or national origin, Rep. King should look inward and discover what it is that some find so difficult.

    “Cure the cause, not the symptom!”

  3. Tom Brown says:

    Coincidentally on the same date as King’s hearing a little storefront Christian church in Daytona will hold a public discussion of “Islam & Christianity.” The purpose is not to argue about whose religion is right or wrong but to explore the many beliefs that the two faiths hold in common. Dr. Mohamad Camara of Embry-Riddle will help guide us. The public is welcome to attend this very informal “God Gab” group sponsored by New Church Family, 815-B Beville Road (Copytronics Building), Daytona Beach. Wednesday March 9, starting 6 p.m. Free. Open to the public. Please RSVP if you are coming so we can plan refreshments —

  4. PC MAN says:

    Someone needs to inform Mr. King the scare de jour is unions. He is so a mid 2000’s “terror chart” scary Muslim republican guy, for god sakes Pete don’t you watch FOX ?

  5. Well... says:

    This argument is beyond old. Not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims. But you know what? It does not matter how many times this fact is stated people choose to stereotype and pigeonhole others based on their religion, their ethnicity, their race, their sexual orientation and this type of ideology is so antiquated it only illustrates how prejudiced people are. One would think that as a society, the United States would be a role model in terms of tolerance, acceptance and open-mindedness but the reality is, many Americans are so puritanical in their belief structure they cannot see beyond the preconceived veil that they have covered their eyes with.

  6. palm coaster says:

    Well said Yellowstone!! Enough of prejudice from these politicians.

  7. krerko says:

    How many times in ten years did we have events occur areound the globe that included events like bombings, beheadings, honor killings, blatant hate speech about the hatred for jews,occuring as a result of someone claiming that they were doing it in the name of Christianity clownfolk? Summarize and compare those figures on your t-account sheet and compare it to that which has happened with that of those proclaiming it in the name of Islam in the past ten months and you’ll find your accusations and comparisons are as ridiculous as yourselves are. No wonder islamification has become such a problem when dolts make ridiculous comments like those above. Maybe go talk to some of your socialist friends in Europe and get some feedback on how wonderful Islam is in their countries and it’s homogenization of the members with that of theri communities.

  8. elaygee says:

    Kerko is the kind of person I’d worry about before most others.

  9. kevin says:

    That is the extent of your rebuttal elaygee, a small personal insult, as is the case with most of you 99.99% of the time? But that is just you, showing off your talents to speak insultingly vs. intelligently.

    Why not address the facts I wrote abou involvingt the problems that are being brought upon the citizens of the countries I mentioned? Islamification is finally being discussed openly because it is such a major global problem, ruining the social structures of many countries that hoped for the homogenization of the Islamic immigrants. Instead, the problems resulting from opening the doors to them have spawned into a societal cancer greatly damaging all countries involved.

  10. LivingInReality says:

    How many “holy” wars through out history have been waged in the name of Christianity. I even recall that the Vatican made a deal with Germany during WWII to stay safe. Those men of god turn their backs on the slaughter of thousands of people. What I have discovered is that most christians are terrified of anybody that is not identical to them. by the way krerko and kevin have you ever even met anyone that is a Muslim. I doubt it. You force your views and religion on people, if your didn’t force people to think a believe the same way you did maybe we wouldn’t have all of the problems that we have.

  11. kevin says:

    I challenge you to address any of the points I specifically mentioned? You won’t because you are an intellectually bankrupt person not open to facts when they go against your ridiculous ideologies, items you cling to just because you fancy yourself an idealist of some sort…part of the problem with thinkers like you.

    Hvae I ever met a muslim. Yes. I worked with them at very times. Your point being what? Are they radicals. I doubt it. Does knowing two or 30 muslims make you or I an expert in terrorism and Islamic Jihad? Go back to to whatever reality you fancy you have the facts on.

    First error: I’m not forcing anything upon anyone. So stop forcing that lame attack on me because it is very ignorant.

    Second, unlike you, I am not living in the past. I am dealing with the hear and now not the past issues that have long since vanished. How many of those wars that you refer to were in response to fighting back the Islamic hordes? Try doing a little homework on the issues you look back on and use as your current talking points in your debates.

    How many large scale killings have there been in the past 40, 20, and five years? You’ll find that they have involved Islmaic fundamentalists and increasingly so in the recent years. You prove my point exactly when I comment about your blindness to facts. You’re more wrapped up in some ideological assumption and hate for Chrtianity then you are concerned with dealing with a modern day problem that is as plain as the nose on your face. Why even mention the Christians when they have nothing, statistically speaking, to do with terrorism? You and your ilk are pathetic. I hope you are not a teacher to our children if this is the extent of your critical thinking skills.

  12. Yellowstone says:

    krerko says: “No wonder islamification has become such a problem when dolts make ridiculous comments like those above. Maybe go talk to some of your socialist friends in Europe and get some feedback on how wonderful Islam is in their countries and it’s homogenization of the members with that of theri communities.”

    It is comments like that that help create the anxiety and frustration in the less intelligent among us.

    krerko, in your paragraph above I want you to substitute the proper noun ‘Jews’ for ‘islam’. Does any of your ideology read reminesent to a history long past?

    Also, perhaps you are too young to remember the 50s era and the slanderism – that anyone of us (you, me, your next door neighbor) could be accused of being a member of the communist party; simply by inference..

    krerko, my guess is you still have got a lot to learn. Go back and re read your history of the Western Civilization. Make the parallels. Do your own ‘compare and contrast’. Then come back and admit your arrogance.

    Regards . . .

  13. William says:

    My God’s better than that evil muslim God, and I’ll stomp my feet until somebody believes me!

    Pretty childish.

    Why don’t you look in a Queran, and a Torah. You’d be surprised how many of the names appear in all the books. In Islam, Jesus Christ was a Prophet, and is revered.

    Can’t really say the Prophet Muhammed would get much ink in the Christian Bible though.

  14. dlf says:

    Do any of you really ,really care or on you the bandwagon just to show you care. I guess we forgot about the shooter at Fort Hood, the 9/11 attackers, the Cole bombers and of course the underwear bomber, of what faith were they? someone please remind me.

  15. JIM.R says:

    You are right about large scale killings involving Muslims in the past five years, It happened in a country known as Iraq. And guess who did the killing. That’s right Kevin, it was good Christian Americans.

  16. Yellowstone says:

    dlf, think you are missing the point here . . . The point is, it makes no difference what religion these maladjusted individuals think – that lead to perfoming harm to innocent people.

    If religion did play factor there is a universal tenet of all legitimate religions. Embedded is a variation of “Do undo to others . . . ”

    All these deviants mentioned above are no different in many respects as an armed robber, rapist, pyromaniac, etc. They need an outlet – more importantly they need to go back and learn (relearn) religion.

    Beyond that they need professional help. Interesting note, though, the Fort Hood shooter is/was a professional psychologist!

  17. dlf says:

    Yellowstone:you are correct, I may be missing the point. But I get the impression that most of the above postings want me to forget and or forgive the people who have a mission of wiping out the USA and any of our friends, I will not forgive or forget who these people are. I fully understand that all these people are bad, but the majority of the people who have attacked us and want to attack us are of the same group.

  18. JIM.R says:

    Do any of you people that are so worried about being attacked by Islamic fundamentalists, stop to think about how many innocent civilians we have killed in pursuit of our lust for the worlds oil, otherwise known as our quest to spread FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY?
    If there is such a thing as Karma, we’ve got a serious bill to pay.
    Iraq, hundreds of thousands dead, some say a million
    Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places around the globe that have suffered from our military interventions.
    The pure hypocrisy of Obama and Hilary Clinton pretending to be outraged at the loss of life in Libya is enough to make me sick, It’s just laying the ground work for an invasion of a place where we have tolerated a brutal dictator as long as he kept the oil flowing.

  19. kevin says:

    JimR: I completely agree with your last comment.
    We still have a clear and present on-going, growing danger from the growth of radical Islam. Why can’t we come together on the acknowledgement of this issue? Why must most of the left continue to false attack and include modern day Christians in their arguments that Islam is some sort innocuous religion with a rich legacy of healing and charity? Clearly there is a monumental difference in terms of the output terror events and various and sundry killings? The data clearly supports the increasing dangers; video and interviews capture Imams basically threatening the world’s citizens, commenting daily encouraging their followers to get out and do harm for the sake of Jihad and Muhammad.
    Is my thinking wrong or my vision failed when I see these things occur?

  20. JIM.R says:

    More hypocrisy, this time it’s Admiral Mullen’s comment that Gadaffy is waging war against his own people.
    Duh, guess what Admiral, there has been a war waged against the people in the U.S. by it’s own corporate controlled govt, and they won.

  21. kevin says:

    I was hoping for an honest reply from you JimR or anyone, regarding my last comment (minus the ad hominem parts). I’ll check back soon…

  22. fred krueger says:

    99.9% of all terrorism around the world is by muslims. two more americans were killed today by jihadi scum. all of you enablers can blow me.

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