Rep. Peter King (R-NY) plans to hold hearings this month in the U.S. House of Representatives on his inflammatory charges about “radicalized Muslims” in America. According to King, 80 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams—including the Long Island mosque in his district that he regularly used to visit. King also believes that Muslim Americans are unpatriotic and that they don’t cooperate with law enforcement in identifying extremists in their communities.
King’s blanket condemnation of a diverse religious community flies in the face of facts. According to recent statistics, Muslim-American communities have helped prevent more than one-third of Al Qaeda terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11. Furthermore, a study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina last year found that community mosques actually deter radicalization and extremism through a range of efforts such as publicly denouncing violence, confronting extremists, providing programs for youth, and cooperating with law enforcement. And a study released yesterday showed terrorist attempts by Muslim Americans significantly declined last year. The study further said tips from Muslim-American communities provided information that thwarted terrorist plots in 48 of 120 cases involving Muslim Americans.
King’s slanderous talk ignores the millions of hardworking, law-abiding Muslims in this country. Muslims have been part of America since before we were a nation, have fought in every war (including the Revolutionary War), and are an integral part of the vibrant mosaic that makes us who we are. Muslim Americans participate in virtually every sector of society and engage in interfaith efforts that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews to work for the common good. The fact that Muslim Americans strongly denounce terrorism, prove their patriotism, and serve their communities and nation every single day has been demonstrated in ways large and small.
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