In defense of Rep. Pete King’s hearings on Islamic radicalization

Author and Georgetown journalism professor Asra Nomani has a powerful piece today at the Washington Post’s On Faith blog in which she talks about how she welcomes Rep. Pete King’s (R-NY) hearings on Islamic radicalization:

When I heard that Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) was going to hold hearings on the issue of radicalization inside our American Muslim community, I thought: It’s about time.

As those hearings begin on Thursday, all of us need to grab a front row seat. This is a discussion we desperately need to have as a nation because for far too long we have lived in a culture of denial, fueled in part by Muslim community leadership that–like just about any community tends to do until prodded–denies our problems rather than admits them.

I arrived in this country in 1969 as a four year old from India and, after 42 years as an American-Muslim, I can say without a doubt: an ideology of extremism has crossed across our borders, and radicalization is a real threat inside our communities in the U.S., often times unchallenged because members of our Muslim community are intimidated to speak out against it. We have brave leaders and activists who do, but usually at great cost to their social standing in the community.

To me, the hearings are not a “witch hunt.” Rep. Peter King is not a 21st century Joe McCarthy, the senator who led hearings on communism in the 1950s. I believe he is an American, like so many, frustrated and annoyed by the largely recalcitrant posture of our community to admitting our problems. In Congress, we have had honest debate about everyone’s dirty laundry–from BP to the Big Three automakers. There has been discussion in the halls of Congress about “Jewish extremists,” “white supremacists,” the Ku Klux Klan and clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Muslims should not be exempt from critical examination, just because its lobby takes a defensive posture–just like all special-interest groups tend to do.


Like most Muslims, I’ve seen rigid, puritanical interpretations creep into the American Muslim community, starting in the 1970s with the exportation of the dogmatic Wahhabi ideology from Saudi Arabia, fueled by the oil money that gave the Saudis a largess from which to pump its ideas into the world. In my hometown community of Morgantown, W.V., I saw the Saudi ideology express itself with mandates that women and men sit strictly segregated from each other at our community potluck dinners, rather than the family style arrangements we’d been enjoying. I felt a crisis of faith and didn’t think there wasn’t a place for me as I came of age as a fierce, strong-willed girl.

Read the whole thing to find out both she and her family have been ostracized by “leaders” in the Islamic community for speaking the truth about radical Islam. 

They’re fortunate that that is all that’s happened to them.

I personally believe that Islam is, by its very nature, radical but there are some well-meaning Islamists like Nomani who don’t view it that way.  While I disagree with her on this point, I encourage her voice in this debate.  The more vocal outspoken Muslims like Nomani are, the more open-minded skeptics will see and understand that this is not a “racial” issue but instead a moral issue directly related to the survival or downfall of western civilization and values as we know it/them.  In the name of “political correctness,” do we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the real threat that radical Islam poses to law and order and basic human rights and dignity, or do we challenge them head-on out in the open  – exposing their oppressive, brutal nature for all the world to see?

We know where most conservatives stand on this issue.  But liberals?  With a few exceptions, their silence and stonewalling on this issue is both deafening and dangerous.  We, and bold Islamists like Asra Nomani,  must continue to speak out because if it were up to liberals and their destructive moral relativism alone, we could only witness in horror as the United States of American morphed into the Islamic States of America in a few decades.   

Not on my watch.

If Christian extremists had committed even 1/1000th of the terrorist attacks that the so-called “religion of peace” has on hundreds of thousands of innocents, the rallying cries from the left and the calls for hearings, committees, new government “investigative departments” and the decrying of Christianity would be never-ending.  But because it’s not the religion hard-line left wingers love to hate, we must “show tolerance” for “other faiths.”

My answer to that? Not in this lifetime.  No way, no how.

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