Flip the Coin: King or McCarthy?
Flip the Coin: King or McCarthy?
By Rabih Haddad
If someone gave me a penny for every airheaded bigot doubling as a patriot who has had some sort of official capacity in successive US administrations, I would be a millionaire.
The latest manifestation of such bigoted hatred masked by false patriotism, riding the fear mongering Islamophobia wave is one Rep. Peter King of New York. King is the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who has recently disembarked on a witch hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy witch hunt in the early 50s that ripped the American society apart and pitted brother against brother, and left scars that over half a century later are still painful.
Peter King is the paradigm of everything wrong with America today. He is the epitome of a present day Judas who sold his soul for a few minutes in the limelight. The hearings he is conducting serve no practical purpose whatsoever. None of the allegations upon which he has based his demands for these hearings were ever substantiated. As a matter of fact, he had to renege on the single most important allegation in which he asserts:
"The only real testimony we have on it was actually from Sheikh Kabbani, who was a Muslim leader during the Clinton Administration, he testified, this is back in 1999 and 2000, before the State Department that he thought over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams. Certainly from what I've seen and dealings I've had, that number seems accurate."
--Rep. Peter King, Jan. 24, 2011
Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, gave King two Pinocchios for this baseless accusation while making the following significant revelation:
“The Fact Checker was inclined to award King quite a few Pinocchios before he came to the phone and essentially took it back.” http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/03/peter_kings_claim_about_radica.html
So what is this circus all about? Why this determination to demonize a whole people and their religion? The answer lies with Peter King. There have been many attempts to dissuade the republican King from treading down this treacherous path. 56 lawmakers signed a letter to King pleading with him to cancel these hearings to no avail. “Singling out one religious group and blaming the actions of individuals on an entire community is not only unfair, it is unwise — and it will not make our country any safer,” the group of lawmakers wrote in the letter.
Peter King would have done well to investigate the “real” terrorist threat from within by looking at home-grown non-Muslim extremist groups who number in the Hundreds. The hearings are controversial, but the link between extremism and violence is worth exploring. The problem is that King has the spotlight fixed on only one group. There is a tangible threat of extremist terrorism in America, but it is not Muslims we need to wonder about.”
He goes on to explain: “The START database on terrorism in America, which tracks all incidents of political violence, shows that most attacks in the last two decades have been on black churches, reproductive rights facilities, government offices, and individual minorities. And those have been committed mainly by right-wing extremists. From 1990 to 2009, START identified 275 “homicide events’’ that killed 520 people and were committed by right-wing ideologues. There were many more incidents of destruction of property, nonfatal attacks, and other acts of thuggery by white supremacists, private militias, and the like.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/10-6
King has repeatedly asserted that Muslims in America are not doing enough to fight radicalization and terrorism within their own communities. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post writes: “Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca testified in opposition to King’s premise, citing figures demonstrating that radical, extremist acts of crime are committed by non-Muslims as well and saying that seven of the last 10 known terrorist plots involving al-Qaida had been foiled in part by information provided by Muslim Americans.” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_hooey_king_20110310/
These hearings will do nothing to make America Safer. The only guaranteed outcome will be the complete alienation of a large segment of present day American society, bringing to mind images of Japanese-Americans internment, and instilling in them a deep rooted sense of fear and uncertainty, eventually giving way to a gripping feeling of resentment and in some cases, raw and naked hate.
Concerned Muslims around the world are watching these hearings with great interest. They expect a much louder voice of opposition to them than has prevailed thus far.
 Hisham Kabbani is an obscure Muslim cleric who practices an extreme type of Sufism and who is considered by mainstream Muslim scholars to be a mere public spectacle void of any true Islamic substance, which explains -in part- his animosity towards them. I find the insistence of some to use him as a reference extremely baffling. I think it brings their own motives into question.