Wednesday, February 9, 2011
IS "PC" BENEFICIAL FOR AMERICAN SECURITY?
February 02, 2011
Groups slam Islam hearings as modern-day McCarthyism
A band of civil-rights, community and faith groups called Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) a modern-day Joe McCarthy in a letter to House leaders, for his plans to single out Muslims during hearings later this month on extremism which will examine the "radicalization of Islam."
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the group Muslim Advocates, along with 50 groups that co-signed, demanded that King, the chair of the House Homeland Security committee, tone down his rhetoric and hold "fair and objective" investigations that examine "all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs."
"Singling out a group of Americans for government scrutiny based on their faith is divisive and wrong," the groups wrote in the letter. "These hearings will almost certainly increase widespread suspicion and mistrust of the American Muslim community and stoke anti-Muslim sentiment."
If King zeroes in on Muslims, group leaders said in the letter dated Tuesday, he'd be following in the footsteps of figures like former Sen. Joe McCarthy.
"That dark chapter in our history taught us that Congress has a solemn duty to wield its investigatory power responsibly," the letter states.
King, who's pushed terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11 attacks, has pointed to instances of violence by Muslim-Americans as a reason for looking into whether Muslim-Americans have been indoctrinated against the United States. He often cites the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, when a Muslim- American Army major shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 others.
But after the shooting in Arizona last month that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) injured and six dead, the ranking Democrat on the panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called for King to expand his focus. The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is not Muslim.
"Attacks are just as likely to come from lone-wolf extremists - like James Wenneker von Brunn, the Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter, or Jared Lee Loughner, who is charged with the tragedy in Tucson, Ariz. - as they are from Muslim extremist groups," he wrote in a Politico op-ed last month.