In his misplaced zeal to make a name for himself Peter King, Republican from New York, has targeted Muslims in his planned hearings on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism.
The FBI does not put Muslims at the top of the threat list. Instead it lists investigating and preventing animal rights extremism and eco-terrorism as one of the FBI’s highest domestic terrorism priorities.
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center believes right wing extremists are a greater threat. He believes those following the paths of Rudolph and McVeigh are still a clear and present danger.
Another falsehood propagated by King is the allegation that most Muslim leaders do not cooperate with authorities. In the past, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has praised the community. And in a speech last month, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said: “The cooperation of Muslim and Arab American communities has been absolutely essential in identifying, and preventing, terrorist threats. We must never lose sight of this.” King's crusadee runs the risk of alienating the many Muslims, clerics as well as ordinary citizens, who are actively cooperating with the FBI to root out terrorists in their own midst.
We do not deny the danger inherent in domestic Islamic terrorism. We do note, however, it is not our largest threat, and taking the focus off of the largest dangers will do little to improve the safety of Americans. King's crusade will only exacerbate the growing Islamophobia haunting fearful Americans in these complex times.
Feb. 8, 2011 by Bruce Wallace, www.121Contact.typepad.com