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In the last few weeks, Congress held two hearings on Islam, and the contrast couldn’t be clearer. In the Republican-controlled House, the Homeland Security Committee, under Peter King, held a hearing on the danger posed by “Muslim Radicalization in the United States” on March 6.

Last Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, led by Richard Durbin, held a hearing on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.”

The radical left wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had a lot to say about both hearings. The SPLC called Rep. King’s hearings “loathsome,” “bigoted” and “his version of the McCarthy hearings,” which “leads to violence against the targeted minorities.”

CNN interviewed SPLC official Mark Potok, whom they called “expert on extremism” from “one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups.” CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux asked him, “From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al-Qaida radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?” Potok responded, “I think it’s not our biggest domestic terror threat. I think that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country.” Potok’s gave one sole example of “right-wing terrorism”: two tax resisters who killed two police officers last year.

This was a heinous crime, and the criminals should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but to say this represents a greater threat than the radical jihadists is laughable.

No less an establishment source than the Council of Foreign Relations detailed dozens of homegrown domestic terrorists. While the SPLC imagines a growth in anti-Islamic bigotry, the CFR notes a dramatic increase in terrorist activities from U.S. citizen Muslims, stating, “There had been an average of six cases per year since 2001, but that rose to 13 in 2009.”

These include:

  • The Beltway snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who killed 10 people and wounded three others and who the media never mention were Islamic extremists;

  • The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hassan, who shot 42 people, 13 of whom died;
  • Faisal Shahzad, who tried to blow up Time Square.

While the SPLC denounced Rep. King’s hearings, their president, Richard Cohen, was invited to speak at Sen. Durbin’s hearings. Cohen said, “Anti-Muslim bigotry – and the hate crime it inspires – is a serious problem in our country.” Cohen blamed opposition to the 9/11 mosque for a “spike” in hate crimes against Muslims.

According to Cohen, there were 156 hate crimes against Muslims in the United States since Sept. 11. Let’s look at the SPLC’s list of incidents. In the last 10 years, they listed a grand total of two murders. One was the killing of Sikh a few days after 9/11 who was mistaken for an Arab. The other was the murder of an Afghani immigrant, Alia Ansari, by Miguel Urango, a Hispanic gang member with a long felony rap sheet and “No Remorse” tattooed on his face. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “authorities said there was no evidence that Ansari’s killing was a hate crime.”

So in the last 10 years, there has been one anti-Muslim murder (which wasn’t even of a Muslim) that occurred just days after 9/11.

Besides his non-existent hate crimes, Cohen claimed the “toxic atmosphere has also entered our schools, manifesting itself in the harassment of Muslim students.” The most extreme examples he could come up with was students trying to pull of the turbans of Sikh boys and Muslim students being asked if they bombed a store in Minnesota.

Suggesting schoolyard name-calling warrants congressional action is ridiculous.

While ignoring threat of jihadists and manufacturing the threat of “right-wing extremists” and hate crimes, the SPLC praises left-wing terrorists. Their website Tolerance.org called Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, “a civil rights organizer, radical anti-Vietnam War activist, teacher and author” who “has developed a rich vision of teaching that interweaves passion, responsibility and self-reflection.” On Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Times ran an interview with Ayers where he said, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Amazingly, the Department of Homeland Security is promoting their disinformation. Richard Cohen served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council for Countering Violent Extremism. Earlier this month, DHS sent an “infogram” to local law enforcement that stated “the radical right in America expanded explosively in 2010.” The SPLC, a “professional watchdog of hate groups,” suggests that the 7.5 percent increase has been caused by “frustration over the lagging economy, resentment over changing national demographics, immigration fears, and mainstreaming of conspiracy theories.”

What they don’t mention is that these “hate groups” include many mainstream immigration control and socially conservative organizations like VDARE.com, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council.

The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies have no business relying on such a dishonest left-wing outfit for information. Far from being “experts on extremism,” the SPLC are extremists themselves.

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