March 9, 2011

Four Things You Need to Know About Rep. Peter King’s Anti-Muslim Witch Hunt

1) The Threat of Homegrown Islamic Terrorism Has Been Greatly Exaggerated. 

According to the FBI, Muslim-Americans were responsible for just 6% of all domestic terrorist attacks from 1980 to 2005.  Latinos were responsible for 42% of terrorist attacks, left-wing extremists for 24%, and Jewish extremists for 7%.  Yes, that’s right, Latinos and Jews have committed more domestic terrorist attacks since 1980 than Muslims (LoonWatch). 

Since 9/11, America has drastically increased its terrorism against Muslims living overseas, thus fueling an increase in anti-American Islamic terrorism.  Despite this, the number of terrorist attacks committed by Muslim-Americans is still relatively low.  Last year, for instance, 10 Muslim-Americans were suspected of planning domestic terrorist attacks; of them, just one, Faisal Shahzad (aka the Times Square Bomber) actually carried out his plot, which, we all know, failed.  Let me repeat that: last year, one Muslim-American attempted an act of terrorism on US soil.  One.  One attempt, zero deaths (Duke). 

By contrast, 20 non-Muslim-Americans were suspected of planning domestic terrorist attacks last year, including right-wing suicide terrorist Joseph Stack, who flew a small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and an innocent bystander, a father and grandfather named Vernon Hunter.  Richard Cohen points out that, “when measured against ordinary violent crime,” the threat of Muslim-American terrorism “is slight” and that “the threat from non-Muslims is much greater” (Washington Post).

2) Muslim-Americans Have Played a Key Role in Fighting Terrorism.

Although King has claimed that “85 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by ‘extremist leadership’” (and also that there are “too many mosques in this country”) (Politico), the University of North Carolina’s Charles Kurzman notes that the evidence suggest that “Muslim-American communities have been active in preventing radicalization. This is one reason that Muslim-American terrorism has resulted in fewer than three dozen of the 136,000 murders committed in the United States since 9/11” (CNN).

A recent study conducted by Kurzman and others found that tips from Muslim-Americans have been the government’s “largest single source of initial information” in bringing terror suspects to the attention of authorities.  Since 9/11, Muslim-Americans have provided the government with tips in 48 of 120 terrorist cases (Duke).

3. King’s Witch Hunt Could Fuel Anti-American Terrorism. 

As Paul Pillar notes: “The focus of the hearings should be of greater concern for the message they send overseas as well as to communities at home. They will be widely read as an indication that U.S. postures and policies that are ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism are really more about combating Muslims. And that reading will in turn stir more anti-Americanism among Muslims” (National Interest).

Pillar’s reasoning has been corroborated by the likes of General David Petraeus, who claimed during last year’s planned Koran-burning in Florida that such actions can be easily exploited by Islamic radicals overseas and in turn harm American national security (Washington Post). Similarly, Brian Fishman, an associate at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, has warned “that anti-Islamic rhetoric feeds into the message of al Qaeda propagandists like Anwar al-Awlaki, who try to recruit terrorists by advancing claims that American Muslims face a dark future of ever-worsening discrimination and vilification” (Human Rights First).

4. Peter King Has a History of Supporting Irish Terrorism.

The Washington Post recently noted that in the 1980s King, “then a local politician on Long Island, was one of the most zealous American defenders of the militant IRA and its campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland. He argued that IRA violence was an inevitable response to British repression and that the organization had to be understood in the context of a centuries-long struggle for independence.

“‘The British government is a murder machine,’ King said. He described the IRA, which mastered the car bomb as an instrument of urban terror, as a ‘legitimate force.’ And he compared Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, to George Washington…

“The IRA was responsible for half of the more than 3,500 people killed in the ensuing 30-year conflict; of those killed by the IRA, about 600 were civilians, according to statistics compiled by researchers in Northern Ireland” (Washington Post).

2 comments:

Desert Peace said...

Thanks for posting this. With thanks, I used it as part of this post on my Blog
http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/witch-hunts-and-fightbacks/

Don Emmerich said...

Well thank you -- I'm honored that you used it. I've been an admirer of your blog for some time now!