Representative Peter King (R-NY) has opened his hearings on what he perceives as growning Islamic Extremism in America. His initial witnesses, three democratic collegues and the representatives of the Committ on islamic-American Relations (CAIR). They quickly became reminiscent of the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's.
The New York Daily News, reporting on the opening testimory of Representative Ellis (D-Minn) reacted this way, " The only Muslim member of Congress shed tears as he ripped Long Island Rep. Pete King's controversial hearings into the radicalization of U.S. Muslims as un-American.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) was overcome with emotion Thursday as he invoked a heroic NYPD cadet who was smeared for his religion. Ellison recounted how cadet Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who died trying to rescue people after the Sept. 11 attacks, was accused of being in league with the terrorists because he was a Muslim who vanished on 9/11.
"After the tragedy, some people tried to smear his character" because of his religion, Ellison said of Hamdani, who was posthumously declared a hero. It was only when his remains were identified that these lies were exposed. He gave his life for other Americans."
Earlier, Ellison had called the hearings "unjust" for singling out an entire community for the evildoing of a few. He said King's hearings "will increase suspicion" about Muslim Americans, "making us all a little less safe." Ellison's unexpectedly emotional testimony silenced the hearing room, but King appeared to be unmoved by his wrenching words.
The Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee opened the hearings with a passionate defense. "Let me be clear today that I remain convinced that these hearings must go forward," he said. King has faced a surge of outrage from critics who say he's mounted a witch hunt against Muslims.
Richard Cohen, in an OpEd piece in the Washington Post, thought differently. "Unlike Moses Herzog, the eponymous character of the Saul Bellow novel "Herzog," I do not feverishly compose mad letters to public figures and sinister government agencies (the IRS, for instance). But I often yell back at the TV set. This happened Sunday when CNN's Candy Crowley asked Rep. Peter King what his hearings into Muslim radicalism are really about. "Good luck, Candy," I yelled, having asked the same question of King's staff just the day before. Here, I am sure, is the answer: The hearings are about Pete King." We could not agree more.
Roll Call, the Capital Hill Political rag, calls the hearings a "Witch Hunt", saying "Hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans set to begin today in the House have provoked a volatile national debate that is spilling into the election cycle. Threatening phone calls made this week to Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, were the latest sign that tensions are high as the New York Republican spearheads a probe into the threat of domestic terrorism."
"Battle lines are already being drawn. On one side are Muslim advocacy and civil rights groups that call the investigation a targeted witch hunt and liken it to Joe McCarthy’s anti-communism hearings. On the other are national security and tea party activists who argue that the inquiry is a necessary first step toward protecting Americans."
"King told Roll Call that he initiated the probe to highlight what he says is a rising threat of radicalization in Muslim communities. The hearings could stretch out over the next year, prolonging the topic just long enough to make Islam a wedge issue in the presidential primaries. “We’re starting to see increased anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigotry that seems timed for the political season,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “The Republican Party is increasingly painting itself as the party of hate and divisiveness.”
"As candidates travel around the country testing the waters for presidential runs, the hearings could also revive last year’s polarized debate on a proposed Islamic center, which critics dubbed a mosque, near the site of ground zero in New York City. In the midterm elections, some conservative candidates used that issue to generate cash and attention for their campaigns."
These hearings will undoubetdly draw out, much as the mccarthy hearings did to try to rerail the Eisenhower Administration. However, in this case, it is so patently obvious that this is a circus that even an average person should take what is said with a grain of wild salt. We should not be painting an entire ethnic group for the sins of a few, or, at least, if he wants to do that the list should be expanded to others who are similarly committing senseless crimes and atrocities--many of which we shower with foriegn aid.