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Peter King’s Muslim McCarthyism

| March 11, 2011

Who are you looking at? (© zerlinaa / Rym)

FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam’s weekly commentaries are broadcast on WNZF on Fridays just after 9 a.m. Here’s this week’s.

New York Congressman Peter King’s so-called homeland security hearing on Muslim radicalization should surprise no one. We’ve been at war with Islam abroad for 10 years. It’s amazing it’s taken this long for the xenophobia and hate-mongering to be elevated to heroic status on Capitol Hill, where even the fringe the notion of Barack Obama as a Muslim fifth columnist still has currency. It’s all part of a long American tradition, rich in blood and bile.

This is a country partly built on the genocidal eradication of the Indian, on the enslavement of blacks for 300 years and the terrorizing and demonizing of blacks for another hundred.  At the turn of the last century it was the “Yellow Peril” that led Congress to ban Asian immigration. In the 1920s, at a time when Jews were openly barred from colleges, clubs, restaurants and neighborhoods, Henry Ford was devoting page after page of his Michigan newspaper to battling what he perceived as the threat of Jewish radicalization in America, and dreaming of the day when the country would be cleansed of them. That was just warm-up for the mass hysteria of the 1950s when it was feared that Soviet communists, who had trouble keeping a light bulb functioning properly in Russia, would overrun the United States thanks to a few well-placed “infiltrators.” The Soviet threat has become the Muslim threat.

And to keep the bigots along the Mexican border happy, there’s always the “Brown Peril” to worry about, and goon brigades such as the “Minutemen Project” to meet brown skins with brown shirts. So Peter King, if anything, is a cliché, an elected, and therefore presumably more respectable reflection of our national prejudices. But the difference between him and, say, that radical nut Terry Jones, the Gainesville preacher who warms his religious bigotry to the fire of burning Korans, is just a different address.

If there is a “radicalization” problem in the United States, Muslims had better take a number. They’re vastly outnumbered. The odd attack with a Muslim at the trigger can’t be denied. We are a diverse country. But bullet for bullet, it’s safe to say that Muslims are more law-abiding than their more Christian brothers, at least stat wise.

The Live Column

“In an 11-day period this January,” the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, “a neo-Nazi was arrested headed for the Arizona border with a dozen homemade grenades; a terrorist bomb attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was averted after police dismantled a sophisticated anti-personnel weapon; and a man who officials said had a long history of antigovernment activities was arrested outside a packed mosque in Dearborn, Mich., and charged with possessing explosives with unlawful intent.” The same Dearborn where Henry Ford once spewed his anti-Semitism. “That’s in addition, the same month, to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, an attack that left six dead and may have had a political dimension.”

Speaking of firebombing mosques, you may remember—or prefer not to remember—that the largest mosque in our own backyard, the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, was the target of a firebombing last year, while 60 worshippers were inside. And that it took place during the orchestrated vilification of a prominent member of the Muslim community, Pervez Ahmed, whose nomination to the city’s human rights commission was almost derailed by the hate-mongering of Act for America!, the organization led by Brigitte Gabriel, a Christian Lebanese turned American Islamophobe, and one of Peter King’s advisers.

Just last month in St. Petersburg, Bradley Strott, a 52-year-old whose Christian credentials must surely be impeccable, was arguing religion with another man when, finding out that that man was a Muslim, grabbed him by the shirt and stabbed him in the neck. Naturally, the Florida Legislature never missing an opportunity to fuel intolerance where it could foster it, is joining the Oklahoma bandwagon against Sharia law, which has about as much influence in Florida as the ACLU does in Saudi Arabia. It’s not about sense. It’s about hate.

That, too, should not surprise you. Florida has the distinction of being the forwarding address to 49 hate groups, third-most after California and Texas. These include neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, black separatists, a chapter of the Jewish Defense League and neo-Confederates, though the list has yet to be updated to include the likes of Muslim-bashing Terry Jones.

Let’s not be disproportionate about hate’s constituency, either. We may have a long tradition of bigotry. We also have an equally long tradition of justice and fairness and clear-eyed denunciations of the worst in human impulses. Peter King is merely a reminder that radicals don’t always wear white hoods and burn crosses in grassy yards. They also wear ties, pander to the media and hold congressional hearings.

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23 Responses for “Peter King’s Muslim McCarthyism”

  1. William says:

    You nailed it Pierre, in all its grizzly historical truth. It lends credence to the argument that this has been a nation of sociopaths all along.

    And while the masses, eyes glazed over with the vapid gaze of hate, are distracted by the new shiny thing, things like this go on virtually unchallenged right under our noses:

    “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” (Berttolt Brecht, I think). Don’t look now, it’s here.

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

  2. Montana says:

    No, there are no dancing in the street when Catholics hear about a pedophile priest, but there has been a concerted effort to Deny, Deflect, Defend this “Enemy Overseas” the “Catholic Church ”, I don’t even think you could deny that fact. What would Jesus Christ, say about this so called Church, I have a few thoughts myself.—matt-stone

    47 seconds in;—matt-stone

  3. William says:

    I wonder if groups such as these will receive equal scrutiny:

    What’s that you say? Oh, right. Nothing to see here folks, move along……..

  4. Alex says:

    Politics drive Congressional investigations. It have nothing to do with discovery of the truth.

    If you want to find out what cause radicalization perhaps academia would be the right location for a committee and not members of Congress with 20% approval rating.

    After finding out the reason, if there is no money to be made on the solution the solution would be ignored.

  5. flagler1 says:

    William, I wonder how you will feel when they slowly slit your throat then proceed to saw your cervical spine as they remove your head.
    Also it is time for all teachers to fight like never before….fight for your cushy jobs!!!


  6. PC MAN says:

    Peter King ? Is that the same Peter King who called the terrorist organization IRA “the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland” ? That Peter King, the one who compared Gerry Adams to George Washington ? How strange, I guess one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist.

  7. elaygee says:

    Rep King is a certified terrorist himself, having given aid and support to the IRA which has killed dozens of Americans and tens of thousands of Irsih citizens engaged in a religious war by Catholics against Protestants. King thinks Catholic terrorists are AOK and has no bad feelings about their victims who he thinks are legitimate targets.

    A US congressman who thinks foreign terroists killing and wounding Americans is OK, as long as they’re Irish Catholic terrorists and no outrage. Sad and shameful.

  8. Outsider says:

    While many, most I would hope, Muslims in America do not deserve this scrutiny, the religion of Isam is not totally without blame. The last time I checked the Koran was the foundation of the religion. The Koran certainly does advocate virtuous behavior, but there is ample space advocating the taxation, enslavement and killing of non-Muslims who refuse to convert. It also preaches intolerance towards non-Muslims. Now, as a not-so-devout Catholic I can’t even count the number of hamburgers I’ve eaten on Good Friday, and
    it’s not unreasonable to think some moderate Muslims would have equal disregard for pats of the Koran they disagree with. We do have many “devout” Muslims in this country, and I am interested to know how they interpret specific parts of the Koran, remain “devout”, yet still are able to accommodate a nation full of infidels. Many argue that only a tiny fraction of Muslims are extremists, but a tiny fraction of billions could still be a significant number, and it’s aleady been proven a lot of damage can be done with 19 radicals.

  9. William says:

    Plenty of people have been killed or had their heads or limbs cut off in the name of the Koran.

    And that’s nothing in comparison to the Bible.

    Go bury your head in the sand and wait for your rapture.

  10. dlf says:

    I don’t care what King does but I do dig the chick in the picture. When was the last time you saw a burka wearing chick made up like this one, look at those eyes. I bet if she wore that make-up at home they would stone her or some other local procedure.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      David (dlf), with all due respect, as usual, though you don’t seem to afford it others too readily, your comment reveals a degree of ignorance I would not be telegraphing to the world. It is assumed that because some Muslim women wear veils or other forms of covering, that they are somehow de-sexualized. The opposite is in fact truer than you imagine. Sex and sexuality in Islam, because it’s not blasted all over the place, preserves a degree of eroticism and sensuality often lost in the west for being more private, and more prized, than it is here, where the notion of private parts is usually on about the same level of what’s left of Howard Stern’s. Personal beauty, make-up, and so on are a thriving industry even in Saudi Arabia, of all places. And please: don’t interpret this as a defense of the veil. It isn’t. I consider the things ludicrous for other reasons. Nor is this a defense of women’s second-class status in many parts of the Muslim world (not that women here still aren’t often treated as second-class citizens; watch this video). I’m just saying that matters aren’t as simple, and not nearly as simple-minded, as your Foxier perspective likes to have it. And the word, by the way, is not chick, it’s woman. Between her veil and your sexism, I’ll take her veil any day. Can you blame her, with the likes of you around?

  11. Jimmy says:

    Wow! It takes a special moron to equate the sexism in America with the veil in islam. Does American sexism equal to the stonings, beheadings and honor killings?

  12. kevin says:

    William the pathetic basis of your argument involves clinging to language in the bible that hasn’t been acted upon, except by a statistically irrelevant number, by anyone in past years or recently. Yet as evidenced repsented by you and the “Ignorant Ones” as I will categorize you and the others henceforth, continue to include in your every utterance Catholics and Christians when the issue is uniquely about Muslims, Islmafication, Islamic extremists and terrorists. Why is it that sane reasonable people logically concluded and agree against the “Ignorant Ones” and that Muslims have unfortunately put themselves into the position of being scrutinized due to what is happening here and more obviously in other countries such as England, Switzerland, France, etc as excellent logical examples? You William, will not and cannot argue against the growing list of issues that have proven them to become more of a detriment to societies’ than they are a benefit, although with the political payoffs to politicians and their meddling hands in the Board of Education’s textbook creation and selections, they would have less studied suckers believe else wise.

    The facts show terrorist events include and ALWAYS ends up with the chanting of Allah Akbar, references to “for the sake of Jihad”, Muhammad, or something similar to those comments while in the act of perpetrating the acts of violence and crimes against humanity. The Oklahoma bombings, which you and your type love to try to ignorantly cling to as proof of Christianity being of equivalency to that of Islamic extremism, which it isn’t in the same galaxy of comparatively speaking, the murderers did not chant or make references to committing the act for the sake of Christ and Christian faith. Maybe like Dorothea who lives in a delusional state, you think or have evidence to the contrary? Please just be honest if you can muster the intellectual ability to hold yourself to being outwardly truthful, and state that yes, along with others of the liberal-progressive, socialist mentality you are also bigoted against Christians, Catholics, and those of the Jewish faith.

    I know a little about King’s background and some of it may be correct in what you all state. Often it’s the pot calling the kettle black, when it involves politicians. I mean look at who composes the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. The whole thing is a joke. Yet, in this case I feel that it is fair and justified based on logical reasons but the Ignorant Ones will twist and plunge needles into my comments and me like that of a voodoo doll in my image. Challenges to confront the issues of that I briefly outlined result in minimizing Islamic extremism to the point of it’s non-existence, like that at Ft. Hood, digressing to rhetoric and repugnant comparisons attacking the person and not the points. That is the majority of the Ignorant One’s modus operandi to date.

  13. kevin says:

    “the organization led by Brigitte Gabriel, a Christian Lebanese turned American Islamophobe, and one of Peter King’s advisers.”…Dare she, or anyone for that matter, take a stand to present to the world, with the passion she does, reporting on the issues involving the growing Islamic issues that she does. Isn’t it ironic, that for anyone that does so they are taken to the whipping post and/or berated, as you do her and soon me I bet, as well as needing 24 hour a day personal security to protect her life because she has balsphemed Islam? Address why anyone who speaks out against the religion, as to be immediately fearful for their life being taken?

    Crickets, crickets…..

  14. dlf says:

    Pierre: after reviewing your comments and my comments, and the picture. I guess I was answering the question below the picture” who are you looking at” I guess you placed that question below the picture so I answered it. By the way is that a true picture of a Muslim women or a fake like some of the other facts we receive from the media.? I guess if you don’t want a question answered you should not ask it.

  15. Justtoletyouknow says:

    First of all, it is painfully apparent that the majority lack the knowledge of the Arabic and Islamic traditions. Believe it or not, there is a difference between the two. Secondly, the Quran is based upon a peaceful religion and true Muslims do NOT tolerate the unjustly acts of so-called for Islam. The so-called beatings you talk about do not only occur within the Arabic and Islamic cultures. They are performed by individuals of different cultures, hence the high rate of domestic violence in America.
    Keep in mind that the acts of certain individuals should not define the whole group. It is important to gather information from other sources besides Wikipedia or google.
    And Dlf, Arab women do wear makeup and are not stoned. By the way, eyeliner was made popular and perfected by Arab women.

  16. Jenn Kuiper says:

    “The whole is other than the sum of its parts.”–Kurt Koffka.

    Yes, individuals should strive for perfection always and call out those who are being hypocritical; however, let’s not judge any institution based solely on one or a few of its members, for we are all imperfect.

  17. dlf says:

    No one is saying we should judge all groups by a couple bad apples. I would not assume the whole Muslim world was bad based on 9-11, Fort Hood shooting or the USS Cole bombers. Nor would I expect the Muslim world to judge all Americans on the current wars or any other perceived negative action. My point is we were giving a picture of a Muslim woman wearing either a Niqab or Burqa with more make up then one would expect and a caption “what are you looking at” and expected to not remember 9-11, Fort Hood or the USS Cole killings. My remark “chick” may have been out of line and not political correct. But I do remember; Flagler Live tossing words like “well heeled teabaggers, “union haters” which may not be political correct and hateful, but again ,ii is OK for the left do do this ,no one else has the right to be political incorrect.. I would remind all, we live in the USA and may speak our minds, we have not fallen under government rule yet.

  18. William says:

    Kevin, you can “write” screed upon screed to your heart’s content. I generally read only the first line or two, that is all the time I’m willing to waste on your narrow and intransigent belief system. You believe what you believe, facts be damned, because what’s preached to you from the pulpit and Faux “News” panders to your particular psychosis. Cool. Live your life in your bubble, continue to “write” many words that say very little, your RedState buddies will love you for it. And be shocked on the day you find out who your true enemies are.
    “I will turn your face to Alabaster
    When you find your servant is your master” –The Police, Wrapped around your Finger
    Bad-mouth me all you want, it doesn’t matter to me. Clearly we have a very different ideological perspective, and you will never, ever convince me that 99% of what you say isn’t bullshit. But never pretend to think you know me. You don’t. And you understand even less.
    You see, like yourself, I have changed since the Notebooks days. I’ve become more disgusted with painfully blatant stupidity and much less likely to turn the other cheek. One of the many differences between you and I is, while I view having become a smaller person with regret, you wear it as a badge of honor. So now I’m off, I have no more time to waste on you. Be well.

    Now for those of you who enjoy a little reading:
    (actually a clean post, believe it or not)

    ” The thing about terrorists is that there’s ones you support and there’s ones you don’t. You may be all for the rights of the Palestinians, but when some non-Israeli from Gaza commits violence against Israel, that’s terrorism. In Libya, you can sure as hell bet the Gaddafi regime considers the violence against it terrorism. They are merely the terrorists we in the United States happen to like. Yes, terrorists can become an army in a war against a corrupt government or an occupying power. But they’re still terrorists until they take over. Like, you know, the colonists who fought the American Revolution.”

    My point goes back to the question I posited in an earlier comment on this thread. If the King hearings are to have any air of legitimacy, if they are an honest examination of terrorism and not an overt Islamophobic witch-hunt, should they not include these facts in their investigation?

    Just because they didn’t yell “God is great” before committing their despicable acts does not negate the findings of DHS, FBI, ATF and SPLC, that many of the perpetrators were fundamentalist Christians.

    What also goes unsaid is the question of motive. Why would they want to kill us? Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that we’ve been killing their men, women, and children by the millions for centuries? By “we” I mean Western Civilization and the Catholic Church in general, and the United States in particular. Is it feasible that our foreign policy of democracy at gunpoint is not well received? Might it be our stubborn determination to lend undying support to Israel, who commits flagrant crimes against humanity using American made weaponry, while disobeying all UN resolutions against it? Are they tired of having their lands occupied by a foreign power? I can’t speak for the rest of you, but if a foreign power were occupying one inch of American soil, I know what I’d be doing. That’s right, I’d be a terrorist.

    But, as I’ve often enough stated, this is just another distraction, another wedge issue to keep us fighting among ourselves, the new shiny thing that keeps us from focusing on the fact that we are being robbed blind by the masters. 80% of Americans share only 7% of the total financial wealth.
    Now THAT’S a congressional hearing I could wholly support, to include arrests, trials and prison time.

  19. BW says:

    This is an excellent article. I lived in a region of the country on 9/11 that immediately blamed Muslims and targeted anyone resembling a Muslim. Two people that worked with me were immediately in fear while worrying about their family still living in Pakistan at the time. I, for one, blame the individuals who made the choices they made that brought and continue to bring harm to same many. I don’t believe in blaming the institution itself. Although I am a Catholic (and take great offense to the comments posted by others here), I do not fear or hate Muslims or the Islamic religion. In fact, I have admiration for Islam and Muslims. Their discipline and dedication to prayer life as well as their dedication to core values are things to aspire to.

    There is a movement within this country to gain following through fear. Fear is a powerful mobilizer, but it it has been used throughout history not for bringing good but rather destruction. “Be not afraid” was spoken by Jesus Himself, but so many Christians allow themselves to be guided by politicians spreading a message of fear. Individuals like McCarthy like fear for personal gain. It back-fired, but after destroying a great deal of lives. Other individuals and groups used fear to gather support for their agendas which promised “better things” and left destruction that is beyond imagination.

    We can not appreciate the lives of those in the Middle East. The aftermath in Afghanistan when their country was destroyed by the Soviet invasion and the result of that today. Those who fled for safety with lives torn apart and reduced to living in camps. We need to look no further than those places to truly understand why any promise of hope could mislead so many to do the unthinkable. Heck, we even seem to demonize those within our own country who are less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times. That is not the greatness of our country. The greatness of our country are the true silent majority. The ones who truly care, defend the innocent, and look out for their neighbors.

    Don’t be led by fear.

  20. kevin says:


    You, as well as certain others, are never expected to answer anything I write because you are cowards. Calling what I say “screed” is just your way to back out of addressing the specific points I’ve often stuck your nose in. Trust me, I have grown to learn most of you cannot be made to accept any point I make. In doing so you would legitimize me, if only to the smallest degree, something hate-filled (regarding Christians, conservatives, white people, etc.) common sense lacking people would rather die while lying about than admit to. I write what I do mostly to just put it out there to keep you cognitively on your toes.

    BTW, what has Fox Business News have to do with my comments? Again, please support your false connections with an example and validate your claims. Of course you can’t, it’s a fucking business channel! It’s just lie, upon lie, upon lie, trying to make others believe what you say about them seem true, though you have not viewed whatever lie it is your spewing. It’s pathetic given that you probably represent yourself as a decent person yet speak and act the way you do when using the anonymity of the keyboard although you are in good company here with most of the others.

  21. Hazmat says:

    @Montana: The Catholic Church, based an ocean away in Vatican City, has followers in the US who try to influence policy which effect Americans outside of their congregations. The Catholic Church hierarchy tries to shield the abusing priests from being prosecuted in the US legal system. If King gave the same energy to those activities, he would risk offending his constituents.

  22. Outsider says:

    Actually William, I took my head OUT of the sand and read the Koran; it made me want to put my head back in it. It made Bill Maher call the Koran “a hate filled book.”

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