Peter King’s Muslim hearings: extremism and fear are our common enemies

Representative Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) congressional hearings on the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community are not designed to … Continued

Representative Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) congressional hearings on the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community are not designed to uncover facts and resolve conflicts. Like the McCarthy hearings of a bygone era, and indeed like the very extremism they claim to fight, the hearings are designed to fuel emotions – not noble emotions like patriotism, solidarity, and love of humankind but base emotions like fear, suspicion, and hatred. No matter how much we wish to argue against emotions with facts, emotions will always be more powerful than raw data. This makes emotions the source of our greatest weakness as well as our greatest strength.

Facts do not support the narrative of increasing Muslim-American radicalization. According to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, in 2010, the number of American Muslims involved in terrorist acts dropped by more than half compared to 2009. More non-Muslims than Muslims were involved in terrorist attacks overall. A fact-based approach would suggest that it is essential to let law enforcement officials testify on hearings that are supposed to “prove” how American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement. As an American Muslim leader who has worked with FBI agents on eradicating extremism since right after 9/11, I am saddened that Rep. King feels that security professionals’ and counterterrorism experts’ testimony constitutes irrelevant data on this subject. Yet again, the hearings are not about data and facts. They are about emotions.

Muslims in the United States are certainly not immune to radicalizing emotions. No single group of people is. Radicals of every creed and religion often feed off of each others’ hate and fear, fueling a vicious cycle of anger and violence. Similarly, moderates within creeds and religions have regularly broken religious lines to express solidarity with their supposed enemies. The largest single source of initial information on planned terrorist attacks by Muslims in the United States involved tips from the Muslim-American community itself. Can we really afford to alienate this vital moderate majority and tell Muslim Americans that they, their religion, their prayers, hopes and dreams for a safer world are unwelcome?

Singling out and alienating a religious community is not the antidote to extremism. The antidote is to unite against fear and anger, and for security, across all boundaries. Uniting against extremism means working across all religions and creeds, including with agnostics and atheists, towards the common human goals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It means refusing to ostracize a quarter of humanity simply because they are Muslims. It also means making sure we have the correct facts and are motivated by the right emotions for the wellbeing of all. This has been my goal and the mission of the Cordoba Initiative, the multi-faith, multi-national organization I founded to break the cycle of mistrust, misunderstanding and irrational fear that exists between many Muslims and Westerners.

In these difficult times, we would do well to remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Today, I urge all Americans to move away from one set of emotions towards another, from fear to courage, from self-destructive retreat to meaningful advance.

The actual battlefront of our times is not between Islam and America, but between moderates of all faiths against the extremists of all faiths, between the purveyors of fear and the champions of love. If we will not be convinced by the right facts, shouldn’t we at least be motivated by the right emotions?

  • areyousaying

    Interesting how some Catholics who dismiss the terrorism of their pervert priests as “individual acts” then lump all Muslims together as complicit for their murderous terrorists.

  • letitbe

    .

  • YEAL9

    The reason for this hearing and one that takes priority over any hurt feelings or tears: What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what continues to drive Muslims to commit global acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed’s book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere.–(Dr. Jasser, one of the witnesses at the hearing definitely is aware of the situation within Islam. One hopes he is successful in his attempts to modernize Islam.)

  • letitbe

    STRANGgggg.me tried to post on ONFAITH’s “GUESTVOICES” to “Other views on religion in the news.Note: WE[i] only used 2 dots. O’ Jealousy!___________________________________________Me wanted to say to Cong. Honda; that if He Stood-Up and said, “Note: It was by our comment on this blogg , that not long ago; during the World Trade Center, MOSQUE Building protest/Debacle/Comedia, that Senator GINGRICH (directly or Indirectly) STOLE that Line (from Here)! How Audacious!i [WE] Wonder Who keeps getting these I.e., Pleaza give Credits to: WWW-1

  • nabi18

    please check out

  • tony55398

    I think it’s about time that hate language should be ended, it serves no useful purpose and only ends up causing a great deal of harm between people with whom we should be creating a Loving relationship, not one of hatred. Our Muslim brothers are people just like us, they Love, they marry, have children and try to live the best life they can, according to their beliefs, like all people who are good.

  • YEAL9

    Imam Rauf, what a joke this guy and his wife Daisy are and they continue to be Muslim evangelicals pulling down ~$400,000/yr spouting their support for a religion that dictates Islamic domination of the world by any means to include killing all infidels.

  • ScottRose

    If you don’t call King’s strategy out for what it is, you aren’t making the most effective imaginable argument against it. King is grandstanding to the Republican electorate, to inflame in it the notion that Republicans are “tough on terror” while Democrats are not. His obnoxious initiative and propagandizing statements do not correspond to objective reality. He has said, there’s no need for him to hold hearings about any group other than Muslims. If that’s so, then why did Pastor Terry Jones’s threat to burn a Koran cause panic in the upper reaches of the US government and military? An anti-Muslim Christian extremist was putting our soldiers in increased danger. We furthermore saw violent attacks against Muslims on our on soil, such as the stabbing of an innocent NYC cab driver, which sullies our image in the Muslim world, putting us at increased risk of attack. The message to King should be Stop taking cheap shots at Muslims for Republican political gain. That is what King is attempting to do, and we should not hesitate to say that we recognize what he’s attempting to do, and that we condemn it unequivocally.

  • TRUTHPOST

    Mr.Rauf. If you sir are so peace loving, than I would suggest you go to Iran. They need you there much more than here. Or to Afganistan. We are sure they could use your insight to calm the fighting, and killing that is going on in those countrys. Also, you might want to negotiate with the Pakistanies, that just murdered the only “peace person” in their parliment. He happened to be a christian. Tolerence? Love? Peace? Start There First.

  • TRUTHPOST

    Extremism is front and center in Islamic teachings and most certainly in Islamic actions around the middle east and the world. If anyone denies this they are sticking their heads in the sand. Islam can never co-exist with “other faiths”. Infidels is a part of your Koran. They, muslims, are murdering most all “non-believers”, christians, jews, hindu, etc.etc.etc. to deny this is foolishness. Straighten out the middle east extremism first. They are representatives of your faith. This is and always has been a nation of Judeo-Christian laws and beliefs. We believe in freedom. Islam believes in submission. freedom and submission can never co-exist, anymore than the north pole can touch the south pole.

  • hitman2

    YEAL9Your comments shows that you do not read any article itself, just cutting and pasting seems to be your hobby.

  • englishman7

    @TRUTHPOSTHow dare you judge the whole of Pakistan by the actions of one maniac? Are all Christians pedophiles? I have visited Pakistan more times than you Sir and lived amongst Christians there. There are many churches and christian schools (which even muslims attend). Muslims and Christians live happily side by side until hate mongers like you upset matters.

  • englishman7

    @ TRUTHPOST

  • englishman7

    @yeal9

  • LaurainLA

    FACT: radical Islam is a deadly threat. America – do your own homework and consult writers like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (www.aifdemocracy.org) who testified at hearing, and Ayyan Hirsi Ali (theahafoundation.org) and Walid Phares who were denied the right to testify at hearings (thank you CAIR) and more writers like Nonie Darwish (Cruel and Unusual Punishment), Wafa Sultan (The God Who Hates) Dr. Tawfik Hamid (www.tawfikhamid.com), Bruce Bawer (While Europe Slept), plus well-researched books like the “Muslim Mafia.” Rep. King is WARNING America—thus his character is being assassinated by CAIR, the Muslim Students Association (founded by the Muslim Brotherhood), and the useful idiots in our government and “liberal” press who are whoring for Muslim $$$ (NPR can you hear me now)?

  • clearthinking1

    THANK YOU RAUF FOR THE BEST SUMMARY OF ISLAM EVER WRITTEN. Your experience with islam and introspection after the 9/11 mosque fiasco must have helped you with this insight.You wrote in your article above: This describes Islam precisely.

  • persiflage

    ‘Rep. King is WARNING America—thus his character is being assassinated by CAIR, the Muslim Students Association (founded by the Muslim Brotherhood), and the useful idiots in our government and “liberal” press who are whoring for Muslim $$$ (NPR can you hear me now)?’King is hardly worried about his character, and the right wing has plenty of useful idiots as well – that’s who King is speaking to in the context of these ‘hearings’. And mabe he can pick up a few independent votes along the way. Vote King for the Senate in 2012…..The GOP voter base sez, ‘We hear you, loud and clear.’ Anyone who truly hates Muslims should just stop buying gas – now that would be the act of a real patriot and true believer.

  • Farnaz2Mansouri21

    Peter King didn’t need these hearings to win re-election or election to anything at all. He is greatly beloved by his largely Roman Catholic constituency, but also by many Protestants, and, even now, retains some Muslim support. Much has been made of his IRA endorsements. He has not now nor will he ever change his mind about them. He has never seen any contradiction between his support for the IRA and his unflagging patriotism for this country. Although he has never said it, he has implied that he does see the Brits as having a decidedly terrorist streak.I’m not a King supporter. I would imagine that the 900 people the Brits murdered during their imperialist Falklands War, shot dead in an exclusion zone, qualifies as terror. Imprisoning HOlocaust refugees in internment camps in Cyprus, shooting men, women, and children survivors to death on a boat might also qualify as terror.And Northern Ireland?Like I said, I’m no King supporter, have never been. However, I will say that he’s one Irish Catholic who has always taken a stance against antisemitism, notwithstanding the fact that Jews never vote for him. Remarkable in and of itself.When I think of him as he’s revealed himself over the years, although my politics are surely not his, I’m not certain I would call him a hypocrite.

  • Mooody

    Chickens sh.ts ran away, when shown there REAL FACE… blocked the blog… up goes your freedom of speech. LIARS/KILLERS99.9% baby killer once pragnant proud womens of West. One can imagine your weired laws and practices and lawfulness.

  • dawnfreligh

    King is doing the right thing, though it might be for the wrong reason, it is still the right thing. Learn to accept that and keep it in perspective if you really care about your host country in any way at all. This is America, not Lybya or Bahrain where citizens are being shot and killed for merely expressing their disappointment over the social and economic injustice and over the oppression they endure. America has been made America by the Christians, we don’t need it to be converted into another muslim country, we have plenty of garbagy ones out there. Take a look around. THERE IS ONLY ONE USA!!!!!! and it desperately needs to be protected and preserved from vile criminals that claim to fight for justice and liberty when all they are interested in is suck this country’s blood and precisely dissolve what makes it stand above the cheap crowd. You came here PRECISELY because of this country’s Traits not those of your country of that of your ancestors. Now learn to respect them and revere them wether they be good or bad. If you are not happy about them, then move back out. Nobody is blocking your in. This country let you in out of courtesy and good heart, it did not let you in so you could come here and tell it how to run itself. How the muslims run things is largely demonstrated out there and it is anything but pretty. And NO!!!!I am not a racist or a discriminate person, I happen to be a former muslim who lived the mulslim crap from the inside out all the way to “china”. I run here to find some peace and healthy freedom and I have. I don’t want to lose it.

  • dawnfreligh

    I just love it when muslims proceed to using the very US ethics that allowed them to live in the US in peace and proseperity, against poor mother USA to advance their highjacking agenda. Let’s reversely use the same strategy in the middle east and see how it will be handled and reacted to. …if what/how they are doing is just fine and dundy in their satanic eyes. Lord Jesus help us!

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