Yesterday, in the opening statement of his hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) claimed that his political dog-and-pony show was not Islamophobic because “not one terror-related case in the last two years involved neo-Nazis” or other domestic groups.
Oh really, Congressman King? Are you quite sure about that?
In fact, precisely one day before King made his eyebrow-raising claim, law enforcement officials arrested a long-time neo-Nazi in what is undeniably a “terror-related case” — the attempted mass murder of up to 1,500 Martin Luther King Jr. Day marchers in Spokane, Wash. Kevin Harpham, a one-time member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance who ranted for years about race wars and similar matters, was charged in federal court with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and possessing an improvised explosive device. The bomb, reportedly laced with rat poison to make it more deadly, was discovered minutes before the Jan. 17 march was to start and defused by police experts at great personal risk.
But apparently Peter King, despite national publicity, didn’t hear about that.
Well, how about this one, Mr. King? Yesterday, on the very day that you were opening your McCarthyite attack on Muslims in America, state and federal law enforcement authorities arrested five people in the area around Fairbanks, Ala., and charged them in connection with a plot to kidnap or kill a local judge and state troopers. The state police said they had discovered “extensive plans” to carry out these attacks, and added that those arrested had carried out “extensive surveillance” of the homes of two troopers. Those arrested included Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, the head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, an antigovernment “Patriot” group.
King was widely criticized for the hearings because they specifically singled out the Muslim community as the source of the vast majority of domestic terrorism — even though all the evidence suggests that is false. The Hill newspaper blog, for instance, reported earlier this week that “the FBI has reported that roughly two-thirds of terrorism in the United States was conducted by non-Islamic American extremists from 1980 to 2001; and from 2002 to 2005, it went up to 95 percent.” In a study last month, the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reported that 48 of the 120 Muslims suspected of plotting terror attacks in the United States since 9/11 were turned in by fellow Muslims. What’s more, leaders of virtually all responsible law enforcement groups report that most Muslims are highly cooperative.
But none of that has stopped King from holding what are, in effect, his what’s-wrong-with-Muslims hearings. No amount of arguing that his hearings were effectively demonizing Muslims could sway the New York congressman — let alone indisputable facts that flatly contradict his bigoted claims.