Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y.
Muslim groups today cried foul over what they allege is a growing “cottage industry of hate” in America.
The Arab American Institute and the Muslim Public Affairs Council held a joint forum in Washington they touted as the answer to U.S. Rep. Peter King’s domestic terror hearings set to begin next week.
In a prepared statement for the packed Rayburn House Building hearing room, Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry said that “Islamophobia” is on the increase, lifting quotes from three members of the U. S. House.
“Islam, quote, is very vile, very vicious and we’ve allowed it to come into this country because we ride around with bumper stickers that say, ‘Coexist,’” Berry quoted.
“‘There are too many mosques in America,’ ‘I am running for the people of the 2nd North Carolina District who are good, hard-working Christian people,’” Berry also quoted.
“These were the comments of Congressman Allen West, Chairman Peter King and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, respectively,” Berry said.
Berry continued by saying that she believes dialogue is important.
“When different people with different views on issues, it’s important that we are able to engage in a discourse and dialogue about them. When it’s elected officials who are talking about the American Muslim community, often about the Arab-American community in a way like this, it’s a slightly different kind of dynamic,” Berry said.
Berry lamented the reputation that American Muslims have and then turned over the microphone to Matthew Duss of the Center for American Progress.
Duss attributes some of the anti-Muslim sentiment to the economy. However, Duss claims that hawkish neo-conservatives are using the economy and policy differences to advance an anti-Islamic agenda.
“The tea party movement and the divisions within the conservative movement right now on the question of foreign policy are as big as they ever have been in many decades. We saw this at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where the opposing sides, the Rand Paul-ites, have real questions about America’s role in the world,” Duss said.
“We see Islamophobia as being one of the issues that a number of neo-conservatives, those conservatives who support a much more robust and militaristic approach to world affairs, are using to paper over some of the differences,” Duss continued.
“I think we saw the result of these efforts in this mixed response in a number of people on the right to events in Egypt. We clearly had people demonstrating non-violently for and in favor of freedom and democracy and yet so many could only respond to this with these alarmist views that it was a Muslim Brotherhood takeover and an Islamist takeover,” he claimed.
Duss said that Barack Obama’s election as president was the springboard that allowed the “freak flag” to fly.
“The people who have been steeped in this discourse have been allowed to let their freak flag fly so to speak. I think the stuff was always there and it’s really come to the fore,” Duss said.
“One of the key parts of this argument is the creeping Shariah argument, We’ve seen more people adopting this, the idea that Shariah law as they define it, quote, a military, religious doctrine of war as it was defined in a report from the Center for Security Policy is in and of itself a threat to the United States,” he said..
Duss added that anti-Muslim feeling in the United States has prompted over a dozen states to propose or pass anti-Shariah provisions.
Oklahoma voters passed an anti-Shariah referendum but a federal judge ruled that some provisions were unconstitutional.
Other states that have passed or introduced anti-Shariah bills are Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, South Carolina, Louisiana, South Dakota and Georgia.
Institute for Global Engagement Senior Fellow Suhail Khan said a “cottage industry of hate” has appeared and called out specific anti-Muslim activists and accused them of a smear campaign.
“These people have grown in their ability to get their hateful message out there, their misinformation and their fear mongering, in intensity, in recent years that we’ve seen now, particularly on the net,” Khan said.
“Who are they? As Matt pointed out, you have folks like Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy. People like David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Andrew McCarthy, Pamela Geller. It’s a real small group, but they’ve formed very cohesive networks that has kind of parceled out different chores when it comes to each facet of this work,” Khan stated.
“You have Frank, who purports to be a national security expert. You have Andrew McCarthy who kind of brings the legal side of this. Robert Spencer, who has no training in Islam or any knowledge, who comes out to try to be the expert on Islam itself, and then throws up a lot of different verses and instances about Islam the faith,” Khan claimed.
“Pam Geller is kind of the blogger on the ground. Then you have David Horowitz who is the ex-communist and has now seen the light and has come out to sound the alarm bells first about communism and now about the threat of Islam,” Khan added.
Asked by WND to respond, Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez said Suhail Khan “is the scion of a staunch Muslim Brotherhood family but somehow yet is accepted in conservative circles.”
She contended the two sponsoring groups are also not who they represent themselves to be.
“The Muslim Public Affairs Council’s declared ideology is closely aligned with the Shariah-adherent one of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Lopez explained.
“The Arab American Institute is a staunch anti-Israel supporter of the Palestinians – soft on both Hamas and Hezbollah, neither of which it terms terrorists – but calls Israelis ‘Nazis,’ has spoken out against the Patriot Act, and is a supporter of Democratic politicians, a strong backer of Barack Obama,” she said.
Later in the forum, Deepa Iyer claimed “Islamophobia” has led to “an anti-immigration attitude in the U. S.”
“It hurts minorities and leads to racial profiling. It’s also led to a hateful view of mosque building,” Iyer said. “These groups have said untrue and hurtful things like building mosques is a sign of the Muslims conquering a land.
Iyer made this claim even though the former Imam of the Ground Zero Mosque project Feisal Abdul Rauf was quoted as saying that the Ground Zero Mosque site had “iconic value.”
Lopez explained that Muslim practice has been to build mosques in conquered territories where non-Muslims are treated harshly and often lose their rights.
“Historically under Islamic law, conquered/subjugated ‘people of the book’ (Christians and Jews) could – and often did – lose their ‘protected status’ and actually became second-class citizens under humiliating dhimmi laws for any infringement of this law on slander against Islam, Allah, Muhammad or Shariah,”
Those violations carried heavy penalties.
“The consequences were often executions, pogroms, slaughter and genocide of an entire community – for the infringement of a single individual,” Lopez stated.
King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security in the House, wants to conduct hearings this month on the “radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism.”
King has criticized the Obama administration for not addressing more seriously the threat of domestic terrorism.
He’s also suggested that leaders in the Muslim community haven’t been jumping forward with cooperation. King said he’s not trying to target the Muslim community but instead wants to look at the facts of current cases.
“It’s the fact that there’s a real threat coming from this attempted radicalization of the community, and it’s in many ways coming from overseas,” he has said.