Debate Over Congressional Hearing on Muslim Radicalization

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

This week, the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on what they are calling the radicalization of American Muslims. The hearing, hosted by chairman of the committee, Representative Peter King (D-NY), is tasked with investigating the threat posed by homegrown Muslim terrorists. "At this stage in our history, there is an effort to radicalize elements within the Muslim community," Rep. King said on CNN's "State of the Union" this weekend. There has been an outcry by Muslim Americans criticizing the congressional committee for signaling out the Muslim community as posing a threat to the country. Is it a worthwhile exploration of the issues or a witch hunt?

On Sunday, more than 500 protesters gathered in New York City's Time Square in opposition to the hearing. And one of the only two Muslims in the Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has compared the hearing to a modern-day witch hunt.

We talk with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative — the group behind the plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero.



Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [12]

fahim from multan

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Sep. 20 2012 08:00 AM
Michael Meric from New York City


Useful points you make. May I tweak the subject just a little?:

It's most important to consider whether or not the horrors you list from the various scriptures are subject to interpretation by their adherents. The Jewish Torah and Talmud certainly are so that even the most extreme adherents would not contemplate such horrors. I cannot speak for Christians, but I imagine one would find something similar.

But, a big question remains: How does Islam approach such matters? We already know that there are many Muslims that do take their scripture and Shariah law literally. They do contemplate and engage in such horrors; and some are beyond belief. It is this that needs to be addressed; because this is not acceptable.

(I have even heard of a Turkish Muslim family that buried one of its daughters alive, shackled to a chair, because she spoke to a boy.)

I do not know if such things have tribal or , ethnic origins, or if they are in fact, specifically Islamic, and what the faith can do or plans to do about it, but I, for one, would like to know. And, for what it's worth, I'm happy to address it in any other religion, mine included.

Thank you.

Mar. 10 2011 03:52 PM

One guy wrote in complaining that the Koran authorizes a husband to discipline his wife. Has that fellow ever cracked open the bible, you will find much worse inside. Rape is okay, slavery is okay, and killing for LOTS of silly reasons is not only okay, it is required (and Jesus makes sure to repeat this in the synoptic gospels!)

Mar. 10 2011 09:23 AM
Jacknhoo from Woodstock, GA

The Islamists are way too far past their due date for denouncing any claims of Islam's violence, to change anyone's mind in these times.

We have watched for hundreds of years their terrorism and violence against citizens of their countries - believers and unbelievers.

We have watched for hundreds of years their terrorism and violence against their own relatives - honor killings and sexual abuse and genital mutilation and oppression of women.

We have watched for many years their terrorism and violence against their relatives in our nation - honor killings for conversions or loss of face, etc.

We have watched for many years their terrorism and violence unbelievers in our nation and our own United States citizens attacked both here and abroad.

If Islam is going to change our is going to take a concerted effort of anti-violence and co-existence over forty years time to be effective.

Mar. 10 2011 09:20 AM
Michael Meric from New York City

Larry from NJ, with respect, is perpetuating the cannard that the US and Israel are responsible for all the bad that goes on in the world, by adding yet one more thing that's their fault: radicalization in Islam.

Larry's ideas which I read as: "Oh, if only the US would do this or that, all would be well", tend to put an immediate halt to any complex exploration of the topic. Of course the US and the West play a role, but that's not nearly the whole picture.

I would start by blaming, directly, the autocratic, tribal-chauvanist strongmen who repress the legitimate (and even the non-legitimate and radical) aspirations of their own people; who won't even let their peoples voices be heard? No one can make a true leader be bad against his will, not even the US. We need to remember this.

The hearings, while they seem like a somewhat clumsy and bureaucratic step, may yield useful understanding. Yes, , Dr. Jasser (your interview this morning) is correct, Islam is responsible for what it's adherents believe and should, at long last, take up the task that has long been theirs to initiate. No one lets Jews or Christians off the hook for what their people do. It's time for Islam to step up to the plate and for the rest of us to listen carefully and respond openly and thoughtfully.

I, for one, want to hear whether Islam is, in fact, truly non violent, and if it is, what its leaders intend to do about the violence which comes from radicalization.

Faithfully, Michael

Mar. 09 2011 11:20 AM
Danny from Providence, RI

I think that these hearings are especially interesting in the context of the Supreme Court upholding the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest on grounds of free speach. It is safe to call their tactics extreme but our constitution protects their rights. We must be careful not to accomdate double standards and singling people out. I hope that the hearings can help move the wedge between Muslim Americans and "the rest or us" to being between Muslims who are just as much a pillar of society as anyone and the small violent minority. I wish I could be more optimistic in that hope.

Mar. 09 2011 10:52 AM
Larry from NJ

Use the hearings to air the dirty laundry about USA policies and actions in regards to the Middle East and the "War on Terror".

What's driving alienated youth to radicalization:
1) torture, Abu Gharib and Gitmo
2) unqualified support for Israel, especially over settlements
3) propping up corrupt and repressive governments in Muslim countries (especially Saudi Arabia and formerly Egypt)
4) the lies, delusions and incompetence surrounding the Iraq and Afghanistan misadventures

Mar. 09 2011 09:21 AM
Eleanor Hayes

Peter King has not let up on muslims since 9/11. He's the biggest public opposer of their mosque in NYC, always negative comments about them. He's almost obsessed with these people. He's like a broken record!!

Mar. 09 2011 07:31 AM

When may we expect the hearing on the radicalization of American Christians? Demonstrably more damage to the polity --

Mar. 09 2011 07:23 AM

This is just a right wing politician trading on right wing paranoia about Muslims. You think anyone, let alone King would hold hearings on the radicalization of Christians? All this talk of imposing Sharia law on the US goes along the Mexicans trying to take back the Southwest and birthers insisting the current president of the United States is a Manchruian Candidate.

I'd bet a thousand dollars that nothing of substance comes out of these hearings.

Mar. 08 2011 06:16 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Clearly this hearing will do virtually nothing to help "radicalization," especially coming from King who himself supported IRA radicals in the 1980s.

As an earlier caller to the show stated, unless all radicalization in the USA is considered in such a hearing, it's not serious.

Not to say that there aren't radicalized Muslims, but we have many other radicals like the many anti-government, "Patriot" types, primarily white, running around who we need to be careful of as well (think the recent MLK day Spokane bomb scare, the Hutaree miltia, the cop-killers in WA state, the Pittsburgh automatic weapon shooter, etc., etc.)


The bottom line is that King isn't helping anyone but himself and his right wing, xenophobic voting base that laughably believe Sharia law is coming to the heartland. Really?

Mar. 08 2011 09:55 AM
apokalypsis from Detroit

If you're going to investigate the connection between religion and violence, you should haul in all religions. Singling out one religion makes you look like Germany in the '30s.

Mar. 08 2011 09:54 AM

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