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Peter King and “Prislam”: Round 2 of Muslim American Radicalization Hearings

Rep. Peter King held his second round of Homeland Security subcommittee hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. This time the focus was on radicalization in our prison system and the threat it poses to the USA, some witnesses and Congressmen termed the concept “prislam,” a silly neologism that gives me headaches just hearing. Here’s hoping the word doesn’t take off.

It must be repeated from the very beginning that King is tarnished by his past Islamophobic and anti-Muslim comments. A point which has been made by countless journalists as well as by fellow Congressmen/women during the first hearing. He hasn’t apologized for, or retracted, any of those comments, which makes the present populist exercise he is involved in even more deplorable.

King also lacks all credibility considering he supported IRA terrorists for over a decade. Only in the magical realism world of Washington politics would someone who supported terrorists be the chairman of a committee discussing homegrown terrorism and radicalization, unless King is now going to argue that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter?”

Now that we’ve established the serious problems with King chairing such a committee, lets get to today’s hearing. The hearing was less of a circus than the first one in March, mainly due to the absence of such clowns and non-experts as Zuhdi Jasser, Melvin Bledsoe, and co., but that doesn’t mean that it was any better.

Aside from the contribution made by Prof. Brent Useem much of the testimony was unsubstantial. Prof. Useem essentially summed it all up when he said, “Prisons are infertile ground for the growth of radicalization.” He had a mountain of evidence to back this quote up, which he submitted to the committee.

The most eloquent, touching and thoughtful questions and comments came from Rep.Hansen Clarke, Rep. Jackson Lee and Rep. Richardson, who did excellent jobs in questioning the premise of the hearings, highlighting its discriminatory nature and also providing perspective when it comes to violence and radicalization at large in our prison system.

Here are some choice cuts:

Rep.Hansen Clarke:

“You know what pisses me off? It’s not about Islam. It’s about the prison system,” …”It’s about the prison culture. We’ve got to change it.”

Rep. Jackson Lee:

“If we look to the informational, we should include an analysis of how Christian militants are intending to undermine the laws of this nation.”

“My political correctness is based on this document, ‘the Constitution’”.

Rep. Laura Richardson:

“I disagree with the scope of this committee, I deem that these hearings are discriminatory.”

Patrick Dunleavy:

“In the Attica and Sing-Sing prison riots, Muslims helped decrease violence and stem deaths.”

The WTF comment of the day from Michael Downing:

“Gangs as urban terrorists, the distinction is that they don’t target innocent civilians”

Peter King attempted to defend these hearings and the scapegoating that him and his colleagues are parlaying by saying,

“I have repeatedly said the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans”…“Yet, the first radicalization hearing which this committee held in March of this year was met with much mindless hysteria — led by radical groups such as the Council of Islamic Relations and their allies in the liberal media personified by the New York Times.”

He thereby effectively made it about CAIR once again, which actually stands for Council on American Islamic Relations not Council of Islamic Relations. By doing so he dodged addressing the core criticisms leveled at him and the premise of these hearings, by not only CAIR, but a wide range of groups.

Such a hearing, aside from stigmatizing a whole group of people is also a waste of time, resources and energy,

Last year, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service determined that only a single example of homegrown terrorism stemmed from an individual who was radicalized in prison. CRS concluded that prisons, “while seen by some as potential hotbeds of radicalization, have not played a large role in producing homegrown terrorists.”

So whats all the fuss about?

Peter King wants to sharpen his hawkish GOP credentials, pander to the anti-Muslim base of his party and present an image of being tough on terror, while also continuing the scapegoating and fear-mongering of Muslim Americans.

These hearings only reinforce the point that Muslim Americans have been making the past few years, they are being unfairly targeted and feel besieged as a community. Rep. Mike Honda, a Japanese-American sympathizes, drawing on his own experience of having been interned by the USA during World War II,

Make no mistake. Growing up in internment camp Amache in Colorado was no joy ride — just look at the pictures. We were treated like cattle in those camps…We look back, as a nation, and we know this was wrong. We look back and know that this was a result of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” We look back and know that an entire ethnicity was said to be, and ultimately considered, the enemy. We know that internment happened because few in Washington were brave enough to say “no.”

We know all this, and yet our country is now, within my lifetime, repeating the same mistakes from our past. The interned 4-year-old in me is crying out for a course correction so that we do not do to others what we did unjustly to countless Japanese-Americans.

This time, instead of creating an ethnic enemy, Rep. King is creating a religious enemy. Because of prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of Republican leadership, King is targeting the entire Muslim-American community. Similar to my experience, they are become increasingly marginalized and isolated by our policies.

Mike Honda’s words are like a clarion call to our political elites to recognize the dangerous path this nation is headed toward. Lets hope it won’t take another internment camp scenario for our leaders to wake up.

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  • http://peakofelephants.tumblr.com Peakofelephants

    While King is an absolute imbecile, there is another kind of radicalization that has been happening for at least a decade or more in U.S. prisons, and that is anti-Shi’a extremism. Shi’a inmates in NY are regularly physically assaulted, there books removed from the prison library and are denied any separate religious services or even Shi’a chaplains. In the meantime, the Saudi money (and anti-Shi’a propaganda videos and literature) gets funneled into the prison system to aid in the Wahhabification of otherwise Sunni inmates. Many Shi’a inmates speak about regularly having to hide the fact that they are Shi’a, just so that they aren’t beaten or killed. This is extremism at its worst, and for years nobody has cared–just like nobody appears to care now about what is happening in Bahrain. [We hear about the "Arab Spring," which seems to include every country *except* Bahrain. All over the world it appears to be the same, sad story: when the victims are Shi'a, there's nary a peep from the Sunni world (or anyone else, for that matter).]

  • NassirH

    More paranoid delusions from the credulous Loonengine, especially the part about “HAMAS trains people in this country to kill people.” Please name at least one incident of a member of Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood killing someone in the United States or training people to do such. Loonengine’s rants would be funny if they weren’t so pathetic.

    And lol @ “uninfected” co-conspirator? What does that even mean? I’m guessing Loonengine was trying to say “unindicted” — in other words, evil empire CAIR is guilty until proven innocent (actually, they’re guilty notwithstanding if proven innocent). Anyways, CAIR has responded to criticism on their website.

    Oh, and since the good folks at JihadWatch like to call CAIR “Hamas-linked,” I’ll start calling Bob Spencer “VHP-linked Spencer.” He has promoted a video of a militant Hindu group that has been responsible for violence against Muslims in India and hasn’t disavowed it in any way.

  • Julieann Wozniak

    American democracy has more to fear from homegrown, right-wing, white power obsessed fanatics than from Islam. The Tea Party is a bigger threat to American democracy than “radicalized Islam.” The Klan and Coal and Iron Police tried to burn my maternal grandparents out of their home back in the 1930s, not “radicalized Muslims.” There a Klavern one county over; I’m more afraid of them.

  • Andrew

    @livingegine:

    “…isn’t it true that CAIR is an uninfected co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial?”
    I believe the word you are looking for is “unindicted” not “uninfected” and there are no unindicted Muslim co-conspirators in the US.

    “…isn’t it also true that the idea of CAIR was created to be a front for HAMAS?”
    No it is not true.

    “…isn’t it also true that HAMAS trains people in this country to kill people?”
    Where in the US is HAMAS training people in the US to to do anything? This is a stretch since their influence barely fills the few acres that make up Gaza.

  • corey

    @isa
    yeah instead of muslims who are more likely to be productive in combating extremism, have a fake expert like spencer to help oversee these trials. after all why have people who practice the faith that people like bin laden use to justify murder to combat this when you can have a guy who demonizes muslims on a daily basis and calls anyone who disagrees with him a dhimmi.

  • Michael

    Livinegine…

    The problem is that you are choosing to believe what the GOP media and Islamophobes say that CAIR is rather than what CAIR says about itself.

    When someone insists that you are what they say are and not what you know yourself to be, then your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    This is exactly what is happening with Muslims. The hasbara backed right wing Islamophobes are peddling this grossly skewed image of what a ‘real’ Muslim is like, and because they have access to the media and the bucks to back them, real Muslims have no chance to counter this false image that is being transmitted.

  • Ismail

    Good grief. This article in National Review today is terrible, telling King to call on Emerson and Spencer

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/269718/cast-wider-net-andrew-c-mccarthy

  • corey

    @gine
    and I would like to know is why is a guy who has supported a terrorist group such as the IRA having trials accusing people of supporting terrorists, because that doesn’t sound the least bit hypocritical doesn’t it?

  • livingegine

    “He thereby effectively made it about CAIR once again, which actually stands for Council on American Islamic Relations not Council of Islamic Relations. By doing so he dodged addressing the core criticisms leveled at him and the premise of these hearings, by not only CAIR, but a wide range of groups.”

    Forgive me for being a CAIRophobe, but isn’t it true that CAIR is an uninfected co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial? And, isn’t it also true that the idea of CAIR was created to be a front for HAMAS?

    And, isn’t it also true that HAMAS trains people in this country to kill people?

    CAIR’s opinion is completely predictable. What I would like to know is what is Loonwatch doing associating with this group that has a hidden agenda? You look like you are being used.

  • Pingback: Peter King and “Prislam”: Round 2 of Muslim American Radicalization Hearings | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper

  • mindy1

    Wonderful article. Let’s hope this does not get too out of hand

  • NassirH

    Only half a century ago, a supposedly enlightened Western country, France, put Algerian Muslims into concentration camps. They (i.e., Rightists in France, especially the Colonial Lobby) also fear mongered about the “Islamization” of France. Apparently equal rights for Muslims would open the floodgates to an Islamic takeover.

    Loons like to look back at history and manipulate, distort, fabricate, and weaponize it in order to bash Muslims over the head with. And they also sometimes repeat it.

  • Garo

    Emperor,

    Well done,sir. Thanks.

  • Garo

    I wholeheartedly salute the courage,fairness and eloquence of Congressman,Mike Honda.

    As a Japanese American he could not forget the years he spent,at age of four,with his family in the “concentration” camp in Amache,Colorado,during the Second World War.

    Congressman Mike Honda: Your human decency and relentless determination to stand firm against evil will always be highly appreciated by simple folks like myself. Thank you,sir,for being what you are.

  • Crow

    I think Peter king thinks he’s going to be remembered by history, and maybe he will, just not as the great freedom-loving, patriotic American he thinks he is.

  • Khushboo

    luckily, he’s not getting any media coverage.

  • Garo

    Rep.Peter King called Council of Islamic Relations instead of its actual name: Council on AMERICAN Islamic Relations. Being the Chairman of such a wast-of-time and taxpayers-money-hearing,he should have known better. Therefore,I dare say omitting the word “AMERICAN” was no mistake. It was deliberate.

    Yes,I say deliberate,because of what Mr.King has proven by words and deeds that he is a hypocrite,(a former supporter of Irish terrorism),and a bigot for singling out Muslims in his unjustified hearings.

    One may wonder:who is behind all the nonsense being committed against an American productive minority. Let us not be naive. Mr. King is only the facade,or rather the front,0f more nefarious forces.

  • Al

    Nice piece, well written.

    King and his crusaders are hell bent on turning this nation into a (greater) xenophobic mess. They offer no substance to their claims and focus on a segment of society that has vested interest in fear- I feel that much of this discourse, these “trials”, and Islamophobia in general, are tools used to make people feel slightly better about the economic doldrums we in the west are currently facing.

    Because clearly it is Muslims who are behind the downturn in economic prosperity-

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