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.
-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: