The Democratic National Committee condemned a congressman who claimed the vast majority of American mosques are run by extremists, “an enemy living amongst us,” earning the praise of an Islamic lobby group.
Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., told radio talk host Sean Hannity in an interview Monday no American Muslim leaders are cooperating in the war on terror.
“I would say, you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists,” he said. “Those who are in control. The average Muslim, no, they are loyal, but they don’t work, they don’t come forward, they don’t tell the police … .”
DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe called on President Bush yesterday to “condemn this latest example of hate-filled language.”
“In the past, President Bush has told Muslim Americans that his administration does not condone bigotry,” McAuliffe said. “Muslim Americans are teachers, lawyers, doctors, business owners who have made invaluable contributions to our country.”
The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has urged King to meet with Muslim representatives.
“We would like to thank DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe for recognizing the positive contributions of American Muslims and rejecting Islamophobic bigotry,” said Hasan Mansori, CAIR’s governmental affairs coordinator.
King was promoting his new novel, “Vale of Tears,” which he described as a “half truth and half fiction” story about future terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in Nassau County, N.Y.
In the interview with Hannity, King criticized a mosque in Westbury, N.Y., which he accused of failing to adequately condemn terrorism.
Hannity asked King to confirm he was saying 85 percent of mosques in America are “ruled by the extremists.”
“Yes,” he replied, “and I can get you the documentation on that from experts in the field. Talk to a Steve Emerson, talk to a [Daniel] Pipes, talk to any of those. They will tell you. It’s a real issue … . I’ll stand by that number of 85 percent. This is an enemy living amongst us.”
However, in testimony before the U.S. State Department in 1999, Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, affirmed most of the mosques in the U.S. are run by extremists.
“We would like to advise our government, our congressmen, that there is something big going on and people do not understand it,” he said. “You have many mosques around the United States … . So the most dangerous things are going on in these mosques that have self appointed leaders throughout the United States. The extremist ideology makes them very active. We can say that they took over 80 per cent of the mosques in the United States … . This means that the ideology of extremism has been spread to the youth and the new generation.”
King said while most American Muslims are loyal to this country, “They won’t turn in their own. They won’t tell what’s going on in the mosques. They won’t come forward and cooperate with the police.”
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad responded: “It is unconscionable that an elected official would defame America’s Islamic leaders and ordinary Muslims, including those in his own district, just to sell a few more books for personal gain.”
“President Bush and other political and religious leaders should repudiate these baseless smears and reject the growing exploitation of legitimate fears of terrorism to marginalize an entire community,” Awad said.
The Muslim leader insisted he was among the first to condemn the 9-11 terror attacks, and said American Muslim leaders frequently have worked with law enforcement officials on the national, state and local levels.
CAIR has filed a $2 million defamation suit against Rep. Cass Ballenger, charging the congresssman falsely claimed the group raised funds for terrorists and did so “with actual malice, wrongful and willful intent to injure and with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.”
The group is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, labeled a “front group” for the terrorist organization Hamas by two former heads of the FBI’s counterterrorism section.
Last July, a member of CAIR’s national staff, Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, was among 11 men indicted for conspiring to train on American soil for a “violent jihad.” Another CAIR figure, Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January 2003 while serving as the group’s director of community relations. In December, Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was indicted for financial ties to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.
CAIR’s leaders also have provided evidence the group has aims beyond civil-rights advocacy.
As WorldNetDaily reported, CAIR’s chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America’s highest authority.
He also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion but to be dominant.
Hooper himself indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he wants to see the United States become a Muslim country.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper told the paper. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”