King's Hearings on Radical Islam Draw Rival Protest Groups

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Protests outside Rep. Peter King's office over his proposed Congressional hearing to examine the threat of radical Islam in the U.S. Protests outside Rep. Peter King's office over his proposed Congressional hearing to examine the threat of radical Islam in the U.S. (Arun Venugopal/WNYC)

About 130 protestors demonstrated in front of Rep. Peter King's office in Massapequa Park on Tuesday, some in support and others against the Long Island politician's proposed Congressional hearings meant to examine the threat of radical Islam in the U.S.

The Catholic non-profit charity group Pax Christi, the Interfaith Alliance of Long Island and other groups organized the anti-King rally — or "pray-in" — when they learned of the proposed hearing. The pray-in was part of a broader effort Tuesday, including a national call-in encouraging opponents of the hearings to call King's office. When supporters of King learned of the demonstration, they organized a counter-protest.

The two simultaneous events, held in a small parking lot in the shadow of the Long Island Rail Road, made for a study in contrasts. Opponents of the hearings performed classic '60s peace songs such as "This Land is Your Land" and "We Shall Overcome" even as they came under attack from King's supporters.

"I'm shocked, and I'm embarrassed for you. You call yourselves Americans!" one woman shouted. "What are you afraid of, that he might find something out?"

King, who is Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, was recently asked to focus his inquiry on "examine extreme environmentalists and neo-Nazis," but King declined, saying, "the Committee will continue to examine the threat of Islamic radicalization, and I will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States."

"Mr. King's hearings are discriminatory and self-defeating," said one demonstrator, Dr. Shaik Ubaid, of the Muslim Peace Coalition USA. "If Rep. Peter King is sincere about the home-grown terrorist threat, as we all are, including American Muslims, for they have the most to lose, then he must invite the director of the FBI and other top law enforcement agencies. He has not done so."

Ubaid added: "[King] must hold hearings on all terrorist groups including the ones who pose the biggest threat such as the armed militias who, according to news reports, are arming for a war and threatening even the President of the United States. He has not done so."

Some supporters of King argued that if most Muslims are not extremists, they shouldn't be afraid of what the hearings will bring out. Others suggested some important revelations could emerge.

"I’d like to see a solid hearing, where they look throughout the allegations in the American community that there’s a lot of radical Islamists who are ready to take action against this country, whether they be natural born citizens, whether they come from other countries," said Jim Duffy, a member of the Conservative Party of Suffolk County.

Pax Christi's Long Island coordinator, Sister Jeanne Clark, said she hopes King can find a "better way" to address the issue. "We too are for national security. We're not opposed to that, of course, but we don't think the whole Muslim community should bear the brunt of, and be called terrorists."


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Comments [16]

Kathy Blaine

No one should be for radical Islam. What is wrong with the counter protestors? They should be investigated. Apparently they support radical Islam/terrorism.

Good job Peter King! Peter King for President!

Jun. 18 2011 12:24 AM
Salubrius from Alexandria, VA

Muslims have been exhorted by the Koran to kill infidels since the time of Mohammed. The first wave of terrorism led by him petered out in 1200. The second wave led by Ozman Bey, (Ottoman), lpeaked in 1700 but lasted until WWI when the Allies defeated Germany and the Ottoman Empire. In 1928, Hassan al Banna, discouraged by the fall of the Islamic Empire, decided that it was due to the failure of Muslims to follow Islam as it was practiced in the 7th Century. He formed the Muslim Brotherhood but it didn't get very far initially as it had no money. With the rise of OPEC in the 1960s and the Saudi financing of the Wahabis' building new mosques, taking control of existing mosques, and building madrassahs with the petrodollars in billions, we began to see the commencement of the third wave of Islamic Imperialism. The al Qaeda and many other terrorist organizations are simply offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood. When they speak in English to the West, they claim they are motivated to terrorize by American foreign policy. But when they speak in Arabic to other Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, they say that no matter what changes their might be, Muslims have a religious obligation under the Koran to kill infidels.

Mar. 12 2011 11:39 AM
Elizabeth from nyc

I agree with the congressional hearings about to take place in Washington DC. There are numerous conflicts/wars occruring throughout the world invoving people who identify themselves with the "ideals" of Islam. Those who are identifying themselves as such seem to be willing to commit crimes against civilians, including murder and mayhem. Why? Isnn"t it worth hearings to investigate the origins of mass/individual murders? If there was a crime committed in the streets of NYC, don't we ask ourselves why this happened? Did we miss obvious clues? This is a parallel question. If multiple murders/mayhem takes place here or around the world, aren't you even a little curious to know why someone is serious about committing that murder/murders?Don't you ask yourself why? Are you uninterested in motivations?

Mar. 09 2011 10:41 PM
Paul Sullivan

Rep. King, as I recall, actually supported a etrrorist group called the IRA, which was responsible for quite a few muredrs of inncocent people. I wonder hoe he squares this circdle he is now constructing? Bigoted behavior is one thing, hypocrisy is something esle.

Mar. 08 2011 05:13 PM
Rev. Alice Batcher from Amityville, NY

I was at this event with my teenage daughter on Tuesday morning. We heard several speakers from Christian, Jewish and Muslim perspectives try to explain why they oppose Rep. King's hearings...But they were drowned out by noisy King supporters who kept harping on Osama Bin Laden and Sharia law. I was ordained as an American Baptist Minister, and I don't want to hear all Baptists stereotyped according to the example of the Rev. Phelps anymore than I want to see all Muslims stereotyped by the extremists who get so much publicity.

Feb. 24 2011 10:56 AM
Lariti from Westchester

Someone who really wants information about possible terrorist groups in the US does not hold self-serving public relations events singling out one group. Peter King has no credibility here & is using his position on this committee to give him cover. Shame!

Feb. 24 2011 07:56 AM

I find it very odd when people want to draw attention away from the fact that Peter King was a NORAID fundraiser. He is the Chair of the Committee for Homeland Security and driving this roller-coaster. He is a known supporter of TERRORISM. Or does it not count when they're not Americans? The IRA were blowing up civillians in Britain. They had links to the PLO who were murdering Israelis. That's a pretty big deal for someone who is meant to be fighting terrorism. He directly supported a terrorist organisation and he should be removed from his position. Are people so completely inured to this sort of hypocrisy that insulting your allies, both Britain and Israel means nothing?

Feb. 23 2011 10:45 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ K Webster from NYC

Exactly,.this has nothing to do with legitimate anti-terror concerns, if it did why doesn't he involve law enforcement? It's the same as with HUAC, and King is pandering to the same xenophobes, bigots and rubes to raise his profile. It's outrageous and dangerous, and why would anyone think King KNOWS anything about islamic radicalism in the first place? This guy wears 9/11 on his sleeve and waves the flag to justify any moronic sentiment that comes to his mind. When this circus plays out he will be seen for what he is, innuendo and unfounded accusations can only get you so far.

Feb. 23 2011 04:25 PM
K Webster from NYC

If Peter King were on an actual fact finding mission- as opposed to an opportunistic one- he would invite the counterterrorism experts who rebutted his claim that Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement. Instead he chooses to fan the flames of doubt and prejudice against all American Muslims while irresponsibly endangering the necessary work of thwarting terrorism.

Profiling isn’t thinking. It tells us to be fearful of a cardboard cutout of a “type” in order to pretend that something is being done about a real problem. Instead of doing the challenging work of building trust within all communities to help find the actual perpatrators we are offered another whole category of people to fear and be stupid about.

It makes the real work of ending terrorism much much harder.

Feb. 23 2011 03:53 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Carol Sowell from Georgia

Define "radical", because unless it is also "criminal" than it is not within the purview of any government agency. Conflating the mafia with radical politics just silly - the mafia is a criminal organization, islamic radicals who don't espouse violence or advocate for the violent overthrow of the US government are free to say and do what they like. The absence of radical politics from the political scene in the US is the prime reason that the Democrats have become a branch of corporate america and we have become mired in endless war.

Muslims have good reason to be radicalized by the wars waged against their fellow Muslims for profit and power, hopefully they will organize politically and with other like minded people provide a counterweight against the grubby war mongers like King and his ilk, corporate stooges all.

Feb. 23 2011 12:32 PM
Carol Sowell from Georgia

Peter King is doing his job! The key word here is RADICAL. He is investigating radical Muslims, both from abroad and homegrown. There is no way that is discriminatory. If he was investigating the Mafia/organized crime, would you object? No. You would want their activities, such as bribery, hit men k-ill-ing their territorial enemies, extortion, money laundering, counterfeiting, etc stopped. And he can investigate only those areas and leave out cat burglars working alone or identity theft, and rapists and concentrate on the Mafia. It is targeted for a reason. That is why this is confined to RADICALS.

I'm also appalled that the Catholic Pax Christi group is protesting his investigation! I am Cahtolic and I'm embarrassed for my Church. Are they communists now? What is going on? How will they feel when another 3000 or more Americans are lost because of political correctness. Those bleeding hearts need to think about the long view. And if American Muslims are sincere they will understand that RADICAL Muslims MUST be stopped.

Feb. 23 2011 11:52 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Here we go again, Eugene McCarthy is back from the grave ... Pete King is revolting. A sickening parody of an elected official, bent on inciting violence, intolerance and hatred, destroying our most sacred right, that of free speech, and using the government as a tool of corporate oppression. Who elected this guy? What is wrong with you people ? What's next, loyalty oaths? Hitler would be proud.

Feb. 23 2011 11:17 AM

Every President since the 1900's has supported terrorism! Leave the IRA out of this! I don't believe that they flew any airplanes into any building and murdered 3000 people from around the globe..

No discussion should be without the votes of the WTC victums input, or at least their survivours...

We are not talking about a country defending it's self from a neighboring country that was well known around the world as doing the King and Queen's wishes, we are talking about a foreign religion that believes that anyone that does not agree must be put to death.

I agree that we should sit down and talk and like the Muslims we should have a dagger in our belt and people (NRA) standing behind us with AK-47's, then maybe we can get our point across..

Remember the Muslim prayer, "IT IS NOTHING TO LOSE YOUR HEAD OVER!"

Feb. 23 2011 10:26 AM
river stronghold from Tennessee, United States of America

This doesn't seem that tricky. First, focus on King obscures the issues . The major point here is the argument that to be successful dealing with terrorist threats we must focus on every threat -- internal and external, Muslim and Christian, and otherwise.

Find and deal with the threat(s), not the ethnicity or religion itself. But if that is where you find it, then it is what it is. Muslims are not a threat. Muslims who blow people up in the name of Islam are a threat.

The secondary subject is what is really making news: Why is discussing this so threatening? Should we really have Homeland Security not willing, able, and asking questions that might keep us safer? What about his personal First Amendment rights and his sworn duty to investigate threats to our country?

If we're willing to choose between uniformed strangers doing nude photoshoots of our wives, mothers, and daughters or else making them go to third base with the TSA's first available in order to fly on airplanes, aren't we willing and able to have a respectful intelligent open (and maybe even loving) conversation about something that seems like it might matter as much as the possibility that all these Muslim terrorists have something in common we ought to consider to keep more folks from getting blown up?

Granted part of the conversation ought to be about how to keep normal, "real" Muslims from being discriminated against because of evil others, these "extremists" are doing. Also grant that some other folks are going to be desperately confused, feel threatened, and aren't going to be so understanding of how you can seem to hide folks blowing folks up by not cooperating even to be willing to talk about all this and claiming you're being discriminated against as a trump card against any moral duty to try to help save lives from loud proud murderers wearing your cultural iconography by helping to figure out who the "extremists" in your midst are after all.

Even to an unjaundiced eye it looks an awful lot like there could be a relationship of some sort between all these purportedly (and self-proclaimed) Muslim terrorists and terrorism threats. To some mainstream Americans, to think that this seemingly factual relationship doesn't deserve conversation is bizarre at best, murderously conspiratorial at worst. It is incomprehensively like if the Irish police and UK homeland security apparatus were prohibited from considering any Irish people as perhaps being involved in the IRA, and the Irish people creating an uprising because anyone could even suggest such a thing. While the bombings and chaos continued.

Why don't we add Joan Rivers' plea "...can we talk?" to the news viewers mantra -- "can't we all just get along?!" If the people lead, leaders will follow. Let's lead like we have a little sense, lots of love, and hope it catches on. It's worth praying and trying for. Because after all, "we hold these truths to be self evident..."

Feb. 23 2011 09:18 AM

Peter King is a supporter of terrorism. He did fundraising and actively supported the IRA at the height of their bombing campaign in Britain. The IRA also had a known relationship with the PLO and other terrorist organizations, so he himself has actively supported Middle East terrorism in the past through his allegiance to them. Forget extraditing him to Britain, just stick him in Guantanamo, since he is such an ardent supporter of that particular institution.

Feb. 22 2011 08:43 PM
John Bull

Peter King should know a terrorist when he sees one, given his vocal support of the IRA in the 80s. Maybe he should be extradited to the UK and tried for treason?

Feb. 22 2011 06:09 PM

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