House homeland security chairman, Peter King, has launched Congressional hearings alleging the presence of radical influence throughout American Muslim communities, claiming that 80 percent of all mosques are directed by extremists. The campaign appears aimed at destroying the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], an advocacy group for American Muslims, which defends civil liberties while shunning violence. Click here for more on CAIR.
King’s crusade boosts the neo-conservative war against “Islamo-fascism” at home while contributing to polarization between law enforcement and Muslim communities. Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy Baca testified in favor of respecting civil liberties for Muslim communities and avoiding dragnet approaches to the issue.
King has been a long-time defender of the Irish Republican Army, which carried out a 30-year armed struggle against British rule in Northern Ireland, frequently defending visas for Sinn Fein leaders like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Asked by the New York Times’ Scott Shane to reconcile his contrasting views of Irish republicans and Muslim-Americans, King said the Irish struggle was aimed at the British, not waged against Americans. He neglected to point out that the IRA killed or wounded thousands of British soldiers and blew up central London on several occasions, while the U.S. regarded the United Kingdom as the closest of allies.
King wants to place WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, and Julian Assange prosecuted as a terrorist. King has not been asked for comment on the U.S. visa denial for Malalai Joya.
Read Tom Hayden’s letter to Peter King.