Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Peter King Matters

There’s been a lot written about Islamophobe and Chairman of the House Un-American Activities Homeland Security Committee, Representative Peter King of New York, and his McCarthy-like witch hunt scheduled to start today. King’s hearings, “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response,” is nothing more than political grandstanding almost ten years after the September 11 attacks.

King is not unique in his bigotry - after all, Glenn Beck, Pamela Geller, and other fringe elements have been claiming that “all Muslims are terrorists” for years. This is like saying “all priests are child molesters”, or “all Christians are terrorists because Timothy McVeigh and Scott Roeder were terrorists.” Or even “all politicians are terrorists” because the very same Mr. King supported a terrorist organization that murdered hundreds of civilians several decades ago, the IRA.

King’s fear-mongering is more insidious than, say, Glenn Beck’s. King is in a position of power, and just as his predecessor Senator Joe McCarthy did, King has the power to ruin innocent lives by innuendo and falsehoods. Even more importantly, the congressman’s actions will invariably result in more, not less, violence. The hearings are a godsend for Al Qaida’s recruiting efforts.

Are there radical Muslims? Sure. Just as there are extremist Christians, Jews, Republicans, and environmentalists. But King’s hearings are designed to paint with a broad brush of hate when the congressman asserts that there are too many mosques in the United States.

Violent extremism must be investigated by the appropriate agencies - the police and FBI. And to be effective, much of this must be done outside of the limelight of the press. King’s grandstanding goes counter to the goal of making this country safe.

My Republican friends are fond of noting that “elections have consequences.” (Apparently they discovered this in 2010, but were unaware of it in 2008). And we will have to live with the consequences of Congressman King’s hatred, venom, and demagoguery for the next two years.

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