Nudging the Hornets’ Nest: How Unjust Were Rep. Peter King’s Congressional Hearings on Homegrown Islamic Terrorism?
I’ll try to make this post almost as brief as its headline is long. In Congress yesterday, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) finally held his much-anticipated and much-maligned hearings on “homegrown” Islamist terrorism — the notion that some American Muslims are being secretly radicalized and recruited by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
Denounced as “an outrage” by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), dismissed as “a sham” by Moein Khawaja of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and ridiculed as “great Congressional theater” by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), the hearings were variously compared to the McCarthy witch-hunts and a TV reality show. One of the two Muslims in Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), wept as he recounted how an American Muslim paramedic died as he attended to the injured at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
King’s one-ring circus lasted four hours. What did it accomplish? Well, it revealed that 1) sensitive minority groups don’t like to be poked, and 2) American liberals will always come to the defense of sensitive minority groups. Big news there.
But were the hearings justified? Yes, and yes again. You have to be wearing size-14 blinders not to notice that extremist Islamic groups tend to engage in terrorism. No non-terrorist with half a brain should obstruct efforts to uncover jihadist recruiting operations here in the U.S. But political correctness dictates that we’re not allowed to single out any minority group for investigation. That would be profiling, a holy taboo within America’s enlightened progressive circles.
Do all Muslims engage in (or even approve of) terrorism? Of course not. King’s hearings weren’t investigating all Muslims — only those who recruit terrorists in the U.S., and those who let themselves be recruited. Like Carlos Bledsoe, whose anguished father testified about the young man’s conversion to Islam, his estrangement from his family, and his subsequent killing of an Army private at a recruiting station in Arkansas.
It goes without saying that not all Muslims are terrorists, and that not all terrorists are Muslims. (Remember the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995? Brought to you by Timothy McVeigh, all-American boy.) But it also goes without saying that some Muslims are terrorists, and that the threat doesn’t always come from the Middle East. (Muslims are as ethnically diverse as Christians, after all.)
Why is it that we never hear about Methodist suicide bombers, Lutheran jihadists or militant Presbyterians? To my knowledge, no plane has ever been hijacked by Reformed Jews for the purpose of flying it into an American building. Why? It’s simple, really: those religions just don’t inspire radicalism among the faithful.
Radicalism is like a malignant tumor in the body of Islam. (And unlike most tumors, this one spreads to other bodies.) It needs to be isolated and cut out without harming the patient. Yesterday’s Congressional hearings were a start, though they accomplished little except the further polarization of already polarized minds.
If we want to extract a tumor, we can’t be in a state of denial. To the Democrats I’d say the cancer is there, and no amount of wishful thinking will make it otherwise. To the Republicans I’d add, “Remember that your enemy is the tumor, not the patient.”