Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reality TV: Peter King's Assault on American Muslims

Rep Peter King
Today was the first of a series of hearings organized by Rep. Peter King - dealing with what King believes to be the risk of Muslims becoming terrorists in the U.S.  This hearing reminds me of one held in Dec 2005 when certain anti-Immigration groups gathered to publicize the supposed dangers lurking within our immigrant population.  The anti-immigration hearings led to a radical bill being passed by the Congress -  numerous protests and disruption followed - the  U.S. immigrant community was traumatized....  Is Peter King trying to do the same thing?

click below

video of part I of the hearing March 10, 2011
video of part II of the hearing March 10, 2011

  • House Homeland Security News Conference

  • Coalition to Challenge "Misinformation" in King Hearings Press Conference

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    From the London Guardian:
  • Muslim hearings in US Congress dismissed as 'equivalent of reality TV'

    Organisers say hearing is vital to US security, but critics say it raises spectre of McCarthy witch-hunts
    A congressional hearing into home-grown Islamist terrorism opened with scenes of high emotion today as tears were shed by the first Muslim elected to Congress.

    The much anticipated hearing was claimed by its organisers to be crucial to national security but generated little new information or insight into how or whether al-Qaida was actively recruiting on US soil or how grave a potential threat that might be.

    Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat, dismissed the proceedings as congressional theatre. "It's the equivalent of reality TV," she said.

    There was certainly drama. In the hearing's tense opening moments, Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, broke down as he recalled a young Muslim paramedic who died during the 9/11 attacks.

    "Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans," Ellison said, his voice muffled by tears. "His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow citizens."

    The congressman then gathered his papers and was gone.

    Ellison's loss of composure was a reminder of the passions generated by a hearing focused solely on the threat posed by the radicalisation of America's five million Muslims and the response of community leaders to that threat.
    Peter King, the pugnacious Republican from New York who chairs the homeland security committee, had faced multiple calls to cancel the hearing.

    Protesters said the very title – "The Extent of Radicalisation in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" – reeked of a McCarthyite witch hunt against America's Muslims.

    King intends the hearing to be the first in a series of examinations on the rise of Islamist extremism within America. The hearings – even more controversially – are also exploring whether the Muslim community at large is refusing to co-operate with police.

    Even the White House warned against the danger of tarring an entire community. "In the United States we don't practise guilt by association," said spokesman Jay Carney. "We believe Muslim Americans are part of the solution."
    King was unmoved by the appeals. "I am well aware that these hearings have generated considerable controversy and opposition," he said. "But to back down would be a craven surrender to political pressure."

    He rejected the charge that the hearings were a 21st-century version of McCarthyism, or were inciting hatred with their specific focus on the response of the entire Muslim community. "There is nothing radical or un-American in holding these hearings."

    On a wet and dreary day, campaigners and members of the public began converging on the congressional office building at about 7am. A few had placards reading: "Today I am a Muslim too."

    Inside the packed committee room, however, the proceedings appeared to be in little danger of generating any insights into al-Qaida operations or threat levels on US soil...more


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