That Thursday’s congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization have provoked a greater outcry from the American Muslim community than any number of atrocities committed in their religion’s name ironically hints at the grounds for the probe.
On Sunday, several hundred demonstrators poured into Times Square, where Faisal Shahzad’s attempt to curtail the civil liberties of Americans sparked no such assembled outrage, to protest Congressman Peter King’s hearings. “To single out Muslim-Americans as the source of homegrown terrorism,” Rabbi Marc Schneier told those gathered, “and not examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist belief—that, my friends, is an injustice.”
On MSNBC, Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in Congress, called the Homeland Security Committee’s inquest “a disturbing use of a Congressional hearing.” On Wednesday, the ACLU’s Laura Murphy warned at Politico that the inquiry “calls to mind the McCarthy hearings.” “Notice that the hearing is solely about Muslims,” the New York Times editorialized Monday. “It might be perfectly legitimate for the Homeland Security Committee to investigate violent radicalism in America among a wide variety of groups, but that doesn’t seem to be Mr. King’s real interest.”
The White House made sure to voice its displeasure with the congressional inquiry. “In the United States of America, we don’t practice guilt by association,” deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough said at a Dulles, Virginia mosque over the weekend. “And let’s remember that just as violence and extremism are not unique to any one faith, the responsibility to oppose ignorance and violence rests with us all.”
Did Peter King overlook sleeper cells plaguing Quaker Meeting Houses? What, but bigotry, explains the exclusion of Orthodox Jews from the Homeland Security Committee’s inquest? Could he have missed the wave of Episcopalian suicide bombers?
Pretending for social harmony’s sake that Islam is Hinduism is Christianity is Judaism is Zoroastrianism makes a farce out of anti-terror efforts. It does so at airport security screening, where geriatric Asian women get singled out alongside twenty-something Pakistani men. It does so in congressional hearings, which will be deemed unacceptable so long as the 21st-century Nazis and South African white nationalists who terrorize movie audiences aren’t duly represented alongside al Qaeda. Political correctness, a point of ridicule on college campuses, kills in this context.
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