Rep. Peter King's 'radical Muslim' hearings ignore more common right-wing terrorism



Rep. Peter King (R-NY) plans to conduct hearings into radical Islam in the U.S., such as the one he held yesterday, at various times through the year. One of the main problems here is that King, who used to staunchly defend the terrorist Irish Republic Army, seems to now think that all terrorists are Muslims, that “80 percent of all mosques in the U.S. are run by radicals,” and, moreover, U.S. Muslims “aren’t doing enough” to combat radicalization “in their midst.” The truth, as some speakers pointed out in yesterday’s hearing, is that U.S. Muslims are very often responsible for foiling radicals’ plots, a fact documented in a Duke University study that showed around 40 percent of foiled terror attacks were due to Muslims telling authorities about them.

Another problem is that, since 9/11, there have been nearly twice as many plots by non-Muslim terrorists, according to a January 2011 terrorism statistics report based on data from the FBI and other crime agencies. In fact, plots by right-wing extremists and white supremacists alone (63 plots) outnumber the number of plots by Muslims (45). As if to reinforce those statistics, the day before King’s hearing began, a white supremacist was arrested for the attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King Day rally in Spokane, Wash. In addition, Jennifer Bryson, a former Bush administration security official specializing in anti-terrorism work, says King’s Muslim-specific hearings are great fodder for al-Qaeda to use as a recruiting tool.

If Rep. King wants to investigate terrorist plots, he should at least acknowledge that right-wing and Christian right-wing extremism are as much of a threat to Americans as Muslim extremists. When King says, as he did yesterday, that he is singling out the Muslim American community because “the main threat to the U.S. today is al-Qaida,” he’s giving in to prevailing prejudices in his party rather than dealing with, as they say in the military, “the facts on the ground.”

One more thing: which of the two people shown here would you rather bump into in a dark alley?

[caption id="attachment_32646" align="alignnone" width="320" caption="Unidentified Muslim woman"]

Rep. Peter King (R-IRA)

Rep. Peter King (R-IRA)

Unidentified Muslim woman

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