The King hearings

Karl D. writes:

I have been watching Peter King’s hearings on Islamic radicalization on C-SPAN-3. As one would have expected, it is pretty much useless. The Democrats are being who they are and accusing the Republicans of racism (in so many words), and the Republicans are trying hard to prove that they are not. What I found surprising is the actual racial make-up of the committee. The Democratic side has fourteen members. Of those members ten are minorities, eight black and two Hispanic. On the Republican side there are nineteen members, all of them white. This is no big surprise, but to see it laid out is amazing.

The witnesses are pathetic so far. Sheriff Leroy Baca of Los Angeles is basically a full blown liberal who finds nothing wrong with CAIR. He has his sheriffs speak a mantra every morning that says something to the effect of “I will fight racism, homophobia, sexism,” and a variety of other nonsense. There is the black father of a boy who shot up a military recruitment center and killed a man. A Somali community leader from Minnesota who speaks on behalf of the families of the twenty Somali “children” who were “radicalized” and went to Somalia for jihad. And finally a Muslim named Zuhdi Jasser who believes in Islamic reformation.

LA writes:

Another reader who is watching the hearings disagrees strongly with Karl. She says that the witnesses are impressive and that Jasser is doing a good job of confronting the radicals. She says that Bledsoe, the black man whose son was radicalized and joined the jihad, was very poignant in describing how his son’s personality changed and he only cared about Islamic ideas and his son even changed his name, and the next thing he knew, his son had been arrested for bombing a military recruitment center.

The reader also mentions that Sheriff Baca, a witness for the Democrats, said that the Koran speaks of Christians and Jews and is all about tolerating different groups. He says that if more people would read the Koran they would see that it’s about tolerance.

Since virtually every page of the Koran features Allah’s sadistic calls for the death and eternal torture of non-Muslims, Baca is revealed as a person of subnormal intelligence. Or should I say that his intelligence is equal to that of Andover, Yale, and Harvard graduate George W. (“Religion of Peace”) Bush.

Karl D. writes:

This Jasser fellow just zinged a female Dem pretty good. She asked him what made him qualified even to “discuss this topic.” He said, “You sound just like the Theocrats I talk to They ask me the same question.”

Spencer Warren writes:

I listened to almost all of the hearing and strongly agree with the reader who praised the hearing. I think Karl is wrong. The black gentleman, Mr. Bledsoe, whose normal teenage non-Muslim son was “brainwashed” (his word) into jihad and then in June 2009 shot to death one soldier at a Little Rock recruiting station and wounded another, was the most effective witness in my opinion. Mr. Bledsoe is a middle class business owner and traditional patriot. His family’s life has been wrecked by the effective kidnapping of their beloved son. Mr. Bledsoe rebutted Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee when she complained that the hearing did not include violent extremist far-right groups.

LA replies:

My other reader said that Sheila Lee said very forcefully during Bledsoe’s testimony, “Why aren’t we investigating the KKK?”

Karl D. writes:

In response to the commenters who disagree with me on the hearing, I found it fine for mainstream consumption, but for me it was weak. I found Mr. Bledsoe’s story sad, but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that he was being disingenuous. He complained numerous times about the PC regarding radical Islam, but I bet he would cry foul at the first mention of anything even slightly disparaging of black crime. His conversion (if there was one) was really due to his son’s acts. I could say the same for the Somali man as well. Doctor Jasser was much better because he was much more intelligent and articulate. The hearing was too short and was light on witnesses with gravitas. Were these four really the best that could be found in the entire country to speak on this subject? I am glad the hearing was held but it was really just political theatre. And weak theatre at that.

LA replies:

You make it sound as though the entire hearing were just a one day affair and now it’s over. I thought King was holding hearings that would go on for a while.

Karl replies:
I thought the same thing. But I don’t think so. The gist I got was that this was it! I heard nothing about reconvening the next day. King said he would hold some more in the future, some about the recruitment in the prison system. But God knows when that will be. I could be wrong. But that is one of the reasons I found this so pathetic.

LA replies:

Really? All that mad hysteria from the Dems that King was unleashing a reign of terror in America—and it was all about a one-day hearing?

Here, for example, is the lead editorial in the March 8 New York Times:

Peter King’s Obsession

Not much spreads fear and bigotry faster than a public official intent on playing the politics of division. On Thursday, Representative Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is scheduled to open a series of hearings that seem designed to stoke fear against American Muslims. His refusal to tone down the provocation despite widespread opposition suggests that he is far more interested in exploiting ethnic misunderstanding than in trying to heal it.

Mr. King, a Republican whose district is centered in Nassau County on Long Island, says the hearings will examine the supposed radicalization of American Muslims. Al Qaeda is aggressively recruiting Muslims in this country, he says. He wants to investigate the terror group’s methods and what he claims is the eagerness of many young American Muslims to embrace it.

Notice that the hearing is solely about Muslims. It might be perfectly legitimate for the Homeland Security Committee to investigate violent radicalism in America among a wide variety of groups, but that doesn’t seem to be Mr. King’s real interest.

Instead, he is focusing on one group that appears to have obsessed him since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, resulting in slanders and misstatements that might have earned him a rebuke from his colleagues had they been about any other group. More than 80 percent of the mosques in America are run by extremists, he has said, never citing real evidence. Too many American Muslims are sympathetic to radical Islam, he said.

Most pernicious, he has claimed that American Muslims have generally refused to cooperate with law enforcement agencies on terrorism cases. He has cited no evidence for this, either, but a study issued last month by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found just the opposite. The American Muslim community has been the single largest source of tips that have brought terror suspects to the attention of authorities, the study found. (It also found that the number of American Muslims found or suspected to be part of terror operations dropped substantially in 2010.)

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has written to Mr. King pleading with him to postpone or reframe the hearings. It said his single-minded pursuit “will inevitably stoke anti-Muslim sentiment and increase suspicion and fear.” Terrorists should be identified by behavior, not religion or ethnicity, the group said. All of that has been dismissed as political correctness by Mr. King. Fortunately, he has not seemed to gather much enthusiasm from his fellow Republican leaders.

Denis McDonough, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, aimed a speech directly at Mr. King on Sunday when he said at a Virginia mosque that this nation does not practice guilt by association. An unrepentant Mr. King later told The Times that there is no need to investigate any other group.

Mr. King plans to call as witnesses two family members of Muslims linked to terror groups, as well as Zuhdi Jasser, the leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Republican who has echoed Mr. King’s suspicions. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who is one of two Muslims in Congress, is also scheduled to testify, though he opposes the hearings.

Democrats on the committee plan to call Leroy Baca, the sheriff of Los Angeles County, who has often said that American Muslims have been crucial in helping terrorism investigations. But that involves empirical facts and expert observation. Nothing could be further from the real purpose of Mr. King’s show trial.

[end of editorial]

It sounds as though it’s going to be a series of one day hearings such as today’s. Maybe there will be three or four one-day hearings spread over several months. This is hardly a serious full investigation of radical Islam in America.

Karl replies:
“Really? All that insane hysteria from the Dems, about a one-day hearing?”

Yes, exactly! King spoke about that hysteria to the media at length after the hearings. Talk about much ado about nothing.

March 11

Spencer Warren writes:

I believe Karl is giving VFR readers a false picture of this hearing. For example, the hearing helped to publicize the discrediting of CAIR, now revealed as a terrorist front. And one need only read the first sentence of Chairman King’s opening statement to see it is the first in a series of hearings.

Karl should recognize that a tiny proportion of citizens shares his broader outlook and that of VFR. Mr. King is trying to be effective, rather than posture, which would discredit his position. The points made at the hearing will do good in educating the public.

The C-Span website lists the schedule for re-broadcast of this hearing, and readers should judge for themselves.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 10, 2011 12:42 PM | Send

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