On the eve of Peter King’s hearings on Islam


Photo image of Zaid Shakir

Image via Wikipedia

King’s committee hearings on Islam are another politician’s pandering to the racist Islamophobes in American culture even when his hearings, which will be stacked against Muslim Americans, have no merit in fact.  King seems to think Muslims aren’t helping America in its war on terror.  False again.  Muslims have been active in fighting extremism, and here is just one example.

(Zaid) Shakir (Islamic activist and teacher at Zaytuna College, pictured above) answered critics who say that the violent extremists are only following a literal reading of the Quran with the verse, “Allah does not forbid you concerning a people that have not fought you over your religion nor expelled you from your homes that you have amicable and just relations with them and Allah loves those who are just.” Some may respond by saying that “the Americans are driving people out of their homes” but Shakir countered this by saying “most Americans I know haven’t driven anyone out of their homes.” Rather, he advised Muslims, especially frustrated and angry young Muslims that want to do something to join forces with those Americans like Michael Ratner and Chris Hedges that have dedicated their careers to shutdown the Guantanamo Bay prison and oppose the invasion of Iraq.

“Michael Ratner has dedicated the last 8 years of his career with others in trying to shutdown Guantanamo Bay. What have you done to help him in this effort, did you go to law school or learn about the political mechanisms of this country and add your voice, organize your community, educate your neighbors, use the media…Where were you when Chris Hedges and Veterans for Peace chained themselves to the White House fence and were arrested while trying to draw attention to those veterans protesting the war? Had Shakir, a military veteran been here, he says he would have a joined them.

Most likely, Mr. Shakir will not be called to testify before Peter King’s committee because frankly King is not interested in hearing anything that counters his subversive notions of the role Muslims play in American life.  But Shakir, et.co aren’t the only ones saying that American Muslims don’t deserve this negative attention.  Time magazine ran this story in one of its recent editions claiming this

Though acts of violent extremism by U.S. Muslims appear to have grown, their potency has not. American Muslims remain more moderate, diverse and integrated than the Muslim populations in any other Western society. Despite the efforts of al-Qaeda propagandists like al-Awlaki, the evidence of even modest sympathy for the enemy existing inside the U.S. is minuscule. The paranoia about homegrown terrorism thus vastly overstates al-Qaeda’s strength and reflects our leaders’ inability to make honest assessments about the true threats to America’s security….

A comprehensive report by the Rand Corporation last year concluded that just one out of every 30,000 American Muslims could be said to have joined jihad, “suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence.”……

So why does the myth of homegrown terrorism persist? In part because, like every hardy political meme, it serves the interests of loudmouths on both ends of the ideological spectrum. To the right, the threat of homegrown terrorism helps to perpetuate the notion of a ceaseless, civilization-wide struggle against Islamic extremism. To the left, the prospect of American Muslims taking up jihad fits with the idea that the U.S.’s foreign policy is creating a new generation of terrorists.

In other words, Muslims in America are a political football that’s used to influence foreign policy or advance a politician’s career, which is also known as demagoguery.  King fits the latter profile and that should come as no surprise in today’s political climate.  Instead of being a leader, a statesman for his constituents, he’s become a follower of political crosswinds that ostensibly serve to minimize the effect of Islam in America and abroad.

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