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Islamophobiapalooza Dispatches: Rep. Peter King’s 5th Hearings on American Muslims and “Homegrown Radicalization”

Peter King

Peter King

Rep. Peter King‘s anti-Muslim hearings have taken on their fifth incarnation today. This time the exercise in political theater and GOP driven bigotry revolved around the topic of “The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization in their Community.” Essentially, “hearings about the hearings.”

By now the hearings have taken on a predictable sequence. Rep. Peter King opens the hearings by defending the hearings, saying they are very important and necessary; how he never said there are too many mosques in the USA; how American Muslims should welcome these hearings; how the “moderate” ones do welcome these hearings, etc. After a few words from his Democratic counterpart, we hear the testimonies of the carefully selected witnesses.

King’s witnesses all serve his purpose, they are usually non-specialists who provide anecdotal evidence and or emotional appeals couched in deep seated Islamophobic stereotypes and thinly-veiled anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Today was Zuhdi Jasser‘s second appearance at the King Hearings. This is not a coincidence, Jasser is friends with King, (King you will recall spoke at Jasser’s Pro-NYPD Spying/Profiling on Muslims rally), and of course Jasser is there to say what King wants to hear. His testimony essentially boiled down to blaming those who expose Islamophobia for creating a “climate of fear” not the Islamophobes themselves.

Not to be outdone by Jasser, faux liberal and useful tool Asra Nomani engages in blame shifting, putting the rise in Islamophobia directly on the shoulders of Muslims, saying “Islamophobia is a frustration with a community that won’t own its own problems.” I guess that explains the attempts at outlawing Islam, banning Sharia, rise in hate crimes, the disproportionate level of employment discrimination against Muslim, etc.?

The lone voice for reason was Faiza Patel, who reverted to those pesky things called FACTS in her testimony. Relying on empirical evidence and studies Patel highlighted the basic point that we have been arguing for quite some time on Loonwatch: “The so-called Homegrown Terrorism Threat is grossly exaggerated.” She also pointed out that the hearings have overwhelmingly been received negatively by the American Muslim community.

As occurred in the past there were courageous Congressmen and women who spoke out strongly against the hearings as casting a pall of suspicion over the whole American Muslim community, singling out Muslims and feeding Islamophobia while not serving any practical benefit at all.

The fighters for justice in this regard are the same as in the first hearing: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Clarke, Rep. Sanchez and more.

Highlights:

-Faiza Patel sounding off on the panelists’ interest in theologically debating Islam, pointing out that “debating Islam is not the Government’s business.”

-Rep. Green asking when we are going to have a hearing on radicalization amongst Christian Americans?

-Rep. Richardson pointing out that “this is not a talk show, this isn’t Oprah, this is a US Congressional Hearing; panelists should be professionals.”

-The strange attempt to link giving up of smoking/drinking, “hip hop clothing”, and going to the mosque more often with the process of radicalization. Something tells me these are not indicators of “radicalization.”

In the meantime:

For our past coverage of the hearings see:

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

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

Peter King’s 4th anti-Muslim Hearing Focuses on “Threats” to US Military Communities

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  • JD

    Pipe bomb left at Londonderry home

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18545284

    Pipe bomb left at Londonderry home
    alert Homes were evacuated during the alert in the Waterside area of Derry

    The man whose home was targeted in a pipe bomb attack in Derry has spoken of his shock.

    Homes were evacuated in Montgomery Close after the device was found around 22:30 BST on Thursday.

    It was made safe by army bomb experts, and was taken away for forensic examination.

    The man, who does not want to be named, said he was terrified.

    “I went to the kitchen and looked outside and saw a pipe bomb.

    “It had wires coming out of it.

    “I phoned my sister who told me to get out of the house and phone the police.

    “The police arrived and confirmed it was a pipe bomb,” he said.

    The man who suffers from ill health took chest pains and required an ambulance.

    “I didn’t know what to do. I almost went to lift it and throw it away but then decided not too.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Ilisha: Yes, I think that we’re pretty much on the same page. I started with “I agree with that conclusion, but I think the path there is more subtle.” Perhaps I was unclear, but I was saying that I generally agreed with you but thought that there was more to be said about the path to your (my) conclusion than in your comment to which I was responding.

    If there is any area of nuance, I think that I may be a bit more reluctant to minimize the relevance of potential moral distinctions. I think that doing so says that once a group or nation does something immoral, it has no reason not to go all the way toward the most immoral action possible. Of course, we would both prefer that all nations and groups agree to give up violence in favor of peaceful means of resolving conflicts, so that is a distinction that matters only once there is already a problem.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Ilisha:

    Evidence that the West/Allies/whatever deliberately poisoned the Iraqi water supply is evidence of completely immoral acts. I really don’t see any other purpose to poisoning the water supply other than to kill or sicken people, mostly civilians. That would put the West in the same category as those they call terrorists.

    With regard to your point that 90 percent of the people dying in wars are civilians, that makes even “targeted” war more like an indiscriminate rampage. Those figures make war even more immoral than it already was and parties, whether nations or not, that promote achieving goals through violent action rather than negotiation should receive appropriate condemnation.

    But that still doesn’t make them all equivalent morally. They may all be morally wrong, but there are reasons, including both scope and intent, on which one can distinguish them. I just think people should be careful in assuming which groups those distinctions would favor, or perhaps more appropriately given that we are discussing moral wrongs, disfavor.

  • Ilishasays ; I don’t give much credit for “moral distinction”. Neither does the Taliban!

  • Just Stopping By

    @Ilisha says, “The notion ‘collateral damage’ (itself a calloused term) can all be written off as ‘they didn’t mean to’ is absurd.”

    I agree with that conclusion, but I think the path there is more subtle than just calling it absurd, so let me try to add a bit. Consider three examples:

    1. A delivery company (such as a FedEx, USPS, pizza company, etc.) instructs its drivers to drive safely but recognizes that given the number of vehicles it operates, there will be some innocent people killed in accidents.

    2. A delivery company instructs its drivers to feel free to run over pedestrians in their path, as long as doing so doesn’t actually slow down the driver.

    3. A delivery company instructs its drivers to deliberately drive into crowds because that gets the company’s name in the news and people won’t remember why they recognize the company name.

    Whether NATO is like example 1 or 2 or somewhere in between can be the basis for a long debate, as well as whether the intended “delivery” itself is moral or effective. And no one should write off any innocent people killed even in example 1 as just collateral damage. As Ilisha notes, doing so would be absurd. But that is not just for moral reasons, but because doing so would blind NATO’s decision-makers from questioning what types of precautions the organization is taking and from questioning whether the entire drone operation is a net positive or negative for the organization.

    Finally, unless you think that NATO is trying to maximize the number of civilian deaths (which I doubt if for no other reason than the negative publicity that follows such deaths), I think we can distinguish its drone attacks from attempts to deliberately kill civilians. So, I’ll give john spielman some credit for that moral distinction, but that certainly does not let NATO off the hook automatically. To paraphrase Ilisha, that would be absurd.

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