New York Rep. Peter King is under attack for his plan to hold hearings on the Muslim community’s lack of cooperation with the government to stop the rising threat of homegrown radicalization when he becomes chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. King’s investigation, though, is imperative, as even top Obama administration officials are warning of the frightening increase in acts of homegrown terrorism.
King is being described as the real extremist for his past vocal support of the Irish Republican Army and is being accused of having an anti-Muslim bias. The legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says King has “bigoted intentions” and the community affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New York chapter says he “has dedicated years of his career peddling extremist rhetoric and baseless claims concerning the Muslim community and its leadership.”
The true “baseless claims” are the ones made against King. He was an advocate of U.S. military intervention in the former Yugoslavia on the side of Muslims, has taken Pakistan’s side over India’s in their fight over Kashmir, and had a long relationship with the Muslim community of Long Island. His record contradicts the accusation that he has an anti-Muslim agenda. His warnings are based in fact and they are echoed by top Obama administration officials.
“You didn’t worry about this [homegrown terrorism] even two years ago—about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do,” Attorney General Eric Holder recently said. He added that over the past two years, 125 people in the U.S. have been indicted on terrorism-related charges, 50 of which are American citizens.
On September 22, Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the same thing. He said that terrorist plots against the U.S. “have surpassed the number and pace of attacks during any year since 9/11.” These facts underscore the need for a congressional investigation into how to adapt to this changing environment.
King is being criticized for saying in 2004 that “80-85 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists,” even though he emphasized that this does not mean that everyone attending these mosques were extremists. The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned him and the statement is being used as evidence of King’s anti-Muslim bias, but that figure originally came from a Sufi Muslim leader named Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, the chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America. Kabbani’s estimate has since been corroborated by an undercover investigation of 100 mosques and Islamic schools in the country that found that about 75 percent promote an anti-Western form of Islam.
The congressman’s criticism of the Muslim community for not pulling its weight in the War on Terror is what really outraged his critics. However, his stance comes from interacting with Muslims in Long Island that he had a long relationship with. After 9/11, he was shocked at how many of them dismissed evidence that Al-Qaeda carried out the attacks, instead attributing it to a government conspiracy involving Zionists.
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