I Support Rep. King on Terrorism Hearings

Wednesday, 09 Mar 2011 09:00 AM

By Tawfik Hamid

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The House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Republican Peter King of New York, will hold hearings on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism in Washington, D.C., on this Thursday, March 10.

Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, objected to King's plans saying, “Singling out one community is the wrong thing to do.”

Ellison should be reminded that almost all homegrown terror attacks and plots in the United States since Sept. 11 have been conducted by Muslims.

Similarly, the statistical data in Europe was the reason why Tony Blair a few months ago had to single out Muslims as the cause of failure of integration in Europe.

In an Op-Ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 9. Blair wrote, “We have to nail down the definition of the problem. There is no general failure to integrate. In the U.K., for example, we are not talking about Chinese or Indians. We are not talking about blacks and Asians. This is a particular problem. It is about the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim.”

Failure of Muslim communities to address the root causes of homegrown radicalism in their communities in the last 10 years supports the view that these communities failed to solve the problem and indicates that Muslim communities need unbiased research conducted by outsiders to get to the root causes of this problem.

According to a May 2010 Rand Corporation report , between Sept. 11, 2001, and the end of 2009, the U.S. government reported 46 incidents of "domestic radicalization and recruitment to jihadist terrorism" that involved at least 125 people. There had been an average of six cases per year since 2001, but that rose to 13 in 2009, a worrisome sign.

Proclaiming "Today I am a Muslim too," about 1,000 protesters gathered last Sunday in Times Square to decry Rep. Pete King's upcoming hearings.

Better would be that such communities ask their religious scholars to remove or challenge Shariah teachings that encourage Muslims to declare wars against non-Muslims and undervalue the lives of  thopse who don't practice instead of demonstrating against the hearings.

Ellison mentioned that he welcomes confronting the ideology of Al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who is hiding in Yemen now. I fully agree with him on this; however, he needs to realize that the violent teachings that can end in creating terrorists is not limited to Al-Awlaki or bin Laden teaching but is an integral and unchallenged part of the current mainstream teachings that are available to many young Muslims in the United States and overseas.

It is the Islamic scholarship that failed to bring a new understanding of Islam that challenges values of hatred or violence that are widely available in the mainstream Islamic books.

The Koran states that (4:135) "O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to the Lord, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin.”

Accordingly, Muslims should be honest and admit that there is a particular problem that affects their Muslim communities more than other communities and that they failed to solve such problems.

As a Muslim, I send my full support to King in his noble and desperately needed research about the root causes of homegrown Islamic radicalism in the United States as his work can save many human lives including Muslim’s lives as well.

If the efforts of Rep. King resulted in saving even one human life it is as if he saved all mankind (Koran 5:32: "If any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people}.

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