Thursday, March 10, 2011
Republican Congressman Peter King’s hearing today on homegrown terrorism has outraged some local American Muslims and raised questions about whether the event undercuts counterterrorism efforts.
SAN DIEGO Republican Congressman Peter King’s hearing today on homegrown terrorism has outraged some local American Muslims and raised questions about whether the event undercuts counterterrorism efforts.
Edgar Hopida of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said he has no problem with King convening hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.
“The problem is that Congressman King has been on record saying that most Muslims are not American when it comes to defending our nation in time of war, that 85 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists,” Hopida said. “These things are troubling because it doesn’t reflect the facts on the ground.”
Counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman said today’s discussion should include an understanding that Al Qaeda is also at war with Muslims worldwide because it wants to redefine Islam as a violent ideology. He said the goal of U.S. counterterrorism policy should be to undermine that narrative and stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject it.
“That said, I think the Muslim American community have a really important role to play in combating Al Qaeda and countering its ideology, identifying cells when they appear,” Fishman said. “We need to see that and we need to encourage it. But I don’t think this kind of hearing is the way to encourage it.”
Fishman said critics make a fair point in arguing that the hearings on homegrown terrorism single out Muslims when right-wing militias and radical environmentalists have also committed acts of domestic terror.