By Arturo R. García
Who does Rep. Peter King (R-NY) actually represent?
According to his website, the 3rd Congressional District is:
- Overwhelmingly white
- Overwhelmingly involved in cis-hetero marriages
- Making more income per household (median income $56,060) than the national average (median 2010 income $49,777)
Has King always had issues with Muslims?
Not according to a profile piece on him by CNN: King reportedly supported then-President Bill Clinton’s military push to defend Muslims in the Balkan regions, and had close ties with the small Muslim community in his own district, but renounced them after he found local Muslims “covering up” for Al-Qaeda in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and refusing to cooperate with “police at all levels.”
That’s a pretty serious charge. How many law-enforcement officials does King plan to call on to provide evidence?
Isn’t this hearing reminiscent of Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communism crusade?
King might know the answer better than we think; as Politico noted, he worked for McCarthy’s counsel, Roy Cohn, early on in his career. Of course, King also dismisses the comparison as “fanaticism.” Uh huh.
Who is Zuhdi Jasser, and what qualifies him as an expert on Islam?
According to The Washington Post, Jasser is the only witness King plans to call who isn’t a legislator. King also plans to call Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim. Democratic members of King’s committee plan to call Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to respond to King’s allegations that Muslims are “not cooperating” with law enforcement.
Jasser has already made himself a favorite in conservative media circles, though, by being their Muslim Friend (even though he admits to not being “a formal expert” in Koranic Arabic) and through his work with the Middle East Quarterly with Daniel Pipes, a man described by Media Monitors Network thusly:
Daniel Pipes is as much a scholar on Islam and Muslims as David Duke is a scholar on Judaism and Jews. He does not seem to know where scholarship ends and where political advocacy begins. He does not initiate his research by asking questions for which he seeks answers, but by providing answers for which he cherry-picks evidence.
Pipes is wedded to his personal political agenda to such a point that it dominates his worldview invalidating his ability to act as a neutral scholar on Muslim-related topics. Concerned with the interests of Israel above all else, he consistently defines Muslim-Americans exclusively as a function of their position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For Pipes, a “bad” Muslim is a Muslim who challenges his views on Israel and a “good” Muslim is one who agrees with them; in his “scholarly” lingo, the code terms are “Islamist” and “moderate” respectively.
Who else is King going to for advice on this subject?
At least one person we can confirm, thanks to Lee Fang at Think Progress, is Brigitte Gabriel, an anti-Islam activist who, though she will not be testifying, shed some light into what King will be talking about during the hearings:
GABRIEL: Glenn Beck is right in what he’s talking about and what I’m holding in front of me right now is the Muslim Brotherhood project for North America. [...] The Muslim Brotherhood wrote a plan in 1982. It’s a one hundred year plan for radical Islam to infiltrate and dominate the West and establish an Islamic government on Earth.
FANG: So what’s going on in Western Europe and North Africa, what’s going on in Egypt, this is all part of the plan?
GABRIEL: [nods] In the counter-terrorism circles this plan became known as The Project. [...]
FANG: Is Peter King, in his hearings, is he going to talk about this issue? And is he going to ask about this wider, global threat; its happening in Egypt, its happening in Western Europe and frankly it could be happening here?
GABRIEL: Exactly. He’s going to be talking about these issues.
Who’s standing up against this?
We’ve already seen protests being held against the hearings. And at least 28 members of the House of Representatives have added their signatures to a letter of protest being circulated by Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI). For his part, Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle calling King out:
Rep. King’s intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia. By framing his hearings as an investigation of the American Muslim community, the implication is that we should be suspicious of our Muslim neighbors, co-workers or classmates solely on the basis of their religion.
This should be deeply troubling to Americans of all races and religions. An investigation specifically targeting a single religion implies, erroneously, a dangerous disloyalty, with one broad sweep of the discriminatory brush.
Honda’s column speaking out against King, according to the Post, is part of a larger bond between some Japanese-Americans and Muslim-Americans on the West Coast, fueled by the similarities between the ethnic targeting both groups have faced.
What’s being ignored by the media because of King’s shameless plea for attention?
Lots of things, but here’s one particularly vile omission: the fact that, even after they went viral, the following public remarks by elected officials were not written about or dissected nearly as heavily by CNN, or MSNBC, or most major network outlets – at least online:
“A big part of the problem that we face today is that our children have been taught at schools that every idea is right, that no one should criticize others’ positions, no matter how odious. And what do we call that? They call it multiculturalism and it has paralyzed too many of our fellow citizens to make the critical judgments we need to make to prosper as a society.” – Congressman Ed Royce
“I know quite a few Marines who will be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.” – Villa Park City Council member Deborah Pauly
Where’s that investigation?