Texas Faith – What to make of Rep. Peter King’s hearings into Muslim American radicalization?
Sam Hodges, Dallas Morning News
Rep. Peter King, R-New York, last week held the first of a series of hearings into what he describes as Muslim American radicalization. He says he wants to do everything he can to prevent a recurrence of the 9-11 attacks. He has faced criticism from Muslims and others for singling out Islam. But at least one Muslim commentator welcomed the hearings as a chance for educating about the faith and addressing head on the fears many Americans have about it.
We asked our Texas Faith panelists for their reaction to the whole idea of King’s hearings. Then we asked: Whether or not you support them, what advice would you give to make such hearings as responsible and constructive as possible?
We should be concerned about the hearings and pray that Mr. King would be honest, sincere and fair. We hope he will not destroy the fabric of our nation and pit one American against the other.
King’s hearings are reflective of sheer political desperation. The right-wing Republicans rode in with a thumping majority in mid-term elections, and now their goal is to win the Senate and the White House. These hearing are to augment that process.
They do not have an honest reason to win in 2012, so they manufacture “Sharia”, “Caliphate” and other devils. They frighten the crap out of constipated men and women and guarantee them that they will defend their rights and keep the bogeymen out. In reality nothing really will change; no one gets hired or sees the prosperity. We hope that Americans will not be duped into believing there has been a win against the imaginary enemy.
I trust our systems and the moral goodness of our nation. If Mr. King takes the wrong step, the American people will not put up with it. They have turned around Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars; supported Roe V. Wade, civil rights, gender equality and laws against discrimination, including anti-Semitism. We will continue to guard America from anyone tearing its fabric.
Acknowledging that “some of our own” are a security threat to our nation is the right thing to do. Muslims have nothing to fear and nothing to worry about; let the man fall flat on his face if he resorts to untruths. What if he turns out to be honest and finds guys like Shehzad? Then we owe him gratitude – not just Muslims, but the whole nation.
Rightfully, Muslims do not want to legitimize this kind of singling out; neither should anyone. But given the ride the right wingers are cherishing in Oklahoma, Tennessee and elsewhere, Muslim must welcome this and take this as a God-sent opportunity for America in general and Muslims in particular to clear the mine fields.
It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting peace in a society, and it is our responsibility to seek the source of such hate and work to mitigate and find lasting solutions.
If nothing else comes from the hearings, one thing is for sure. Muslims are not a monolithic lot. Four Muslims in America have welcomed the hearings: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Dr. Akbar Ahmed, Ms. Asra Nomani and me. It is not an easy thing, but thank God Muslims have made it easy for us. The American values of democracy flow through their veins; they appreciate the freedom and value the differences, and have learned to respect the otherness of others. We thank God for this opportunity to put the doubts and nagging behind for good so we can continue to participate in and contribute towards the well-being of America, our homeland.
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Mike Ghouse is president of Americans Together and Muslims Together Foundations and is committed to building cohesive societies offering pluralistic solution on issues of the day. He will speak at your work place, place of worship or seminars and conferences on the subjects of pluralism, cohesive societies, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace; he is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics. His work is indexed in 4 websites and 27 Blogs at http://www.mikeghouse.net/