Congressman Peter King (R-NY) kicks off his hearings on Islamic extremism in this country in the face of great controversy. His critics, including Keith Ellison (D-MN), the ACLU and CAIR object that this will amount to nothing more than a witch hunt against innocent American Muslims. No doubt it will shine a spotlight on the Muslim communities in America and may increase suspicion. Yet, the suspicion is already present and should be addressed and discussed. Congressman King insists that he is not trying to defame the vast majority of American Muslims or paint them with the same brush. Yet, the hearings are indeed necessary for no other reason than we cannot ignore what is staring us right in the face. We have a problem here in America, and we need to confront it and put it in the proper perspective in fairness to all.
On 9-11, 19 men, all from the Middle East, men who should not have been in this country to begin with, took 3,000 lives. Since then, several smaller attacks have been carried out or thwarted. Many of these attacks or would- be attacks have been carried out by home-grown terrorists. They share one common characteristic; they were all perpetrated by Muslims. Does that mean all American Muslims are terrorists or potential terrorists? No-far from it. Yet, we have to face the facts. Some are.
From Ft Hood to the Underwear Bomber to the Times Square Bomber to the Shoe Bomber to Anwar al Awlaki to the Ft Dix conspiracy and on and on, Muslims have been involved in one plot after another to carry out mass murder in the US. The FBI deserves credit for having foiled so many would-be acts of terror.
Yet, we all know that another 9-11 is likely and that smaller acts of terror are a certainty. And when they happen, they will be carried out by Muslims.
In addition, we also know that many mosques in the US are breeding grounds for would-be terrorists. Many imams are giving sermons (or outside speeches) laced with hate against this country, its freedoms, its traditions, and non-Muslims. Examples? How about the so-called Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, now in prison on terror conspiracy charges? How about Awlaki himself? How about Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Detroit, killed in a shootout with the FBI? How about folks like Imam Alim Musa, who praises Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran while openly telling audiences that Islam will take down and take over America? How about Mohammed al-Asi, the imam who said several years ago at UC-Irvine that "you can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the Jew"?
What about some of these organizations like CAIR, ICNA, ISNA, MPAC and others, not only connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, but in the case of some, named as "un-indicted co-conspirators" in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas? (CAIR has now been removed from that list by judicial order.) What connections, if any, do they have with US-recognized terror groups in the Middle East, such as Hamas or Hezbollah?
And isn't it time that someone was called under oath to answer questions about what connections these Muslim Student Associations have with radical groups-including the Muslim Brotherhood?
No reasonable person wants to see these hearings turn into an indictment of all American Muslims. I sure don't. If anything, King has caved into opposition demands to exclude certain witnesses like Steven Emerson, who could spell it all out chapter and verse for the committee. King says he wants to concentrate on Muslim witnesses. It is good that he will call Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. That should encourage other moderate Muslims of good will to come out of the shadows and tell the committee of their own concerns and fears.
Yes, fears of what they can expect if they speak out against the radicals.
I would hope that the leaders of CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and other so-called "moderate" organizations will also be called-not just to give their prepared statements, but answer hard questions under oath. For example, how about Nihad Awad, the head of CAIR? He could be asked about how exactly CAIR was formed back in 1994 and the involvement and connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. How about the obvious radicals, such as the Islamic Thinkers Society and Shariah4America? Let them tell the American people publicly what their goals are.
Make no mistake; there is an organized effort going on to radicalize Muslim youth in America. It involves certain mosques, certain religious leaders and certain organizations that portray themselves as moderate. Much of what is going on takes place on university campuses. My biggest fear is that due to political correctness, the King hearings will not even scratch the surface of what is going on.
It would not be fair to say that all or even most American Muslims represent a 5th column in this country. But a 5th column is out there. We want American Muslims of good will to join with us in rooting it out. Some have. Some of the would-be attacks have indeed been thwarted when Muslims tipped off the FBI. That is highly commendable. However, more of that is needed. It is not helpful when certain organizations actively discourage their followers from cooperating with the police.
The King hearings are needed, and if they do their job, can be highly effective. Peter King is no Joe McCarthy, but if the committee shies away from certain areas or refuses to pin down witnesses under oath, then they will be a failure. The stakes are simply too high. What are those stakes?
Hundreds, if not thousands of American lives.