It is not everyday that Congress breaks a major taboo and, in so doing, performs a real service to the nation. Last Thursday, however, was one such day: Representative Pete King (Republican of New York) demonstrated impressive leadership in convening and conducting a four-hour-long hearing on "extremism" in the American Muslim community.
For his efforts, the Homeland Security Committee's chairman was subjected to tremendous personal attacks and partisan sniping - the wages of taboo-busting. While those responsible for inflicting such slanderous criticism claim, in the words of one group, to have "defeat[ed] a major threat of Islamophobia," the real story is that Mr. King began a conversation about an issue that has long been deemed politically untouchable. He also established that there is, indeed, a problem of "extremism" within the American Muslim community.
One manifestation of that problem was the determined effort made by the so-called "leadership" of the Muslim population in this country not only to impugn the chairman and several of his witnesses, but to suppress these hearings altogether. For example, groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) lined up fifty-five House Democrats to insist that Rep. King "reconsider the scope of these hearings and instead examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs, rather than unfairly focusing on just one religious group."
One of the reasons for this demand became clear as Pete King's witnesses shed light on the true nature of such self-appointed Muslim "leaders": They do not speak for American Muslims and are either directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood - an organization whose mission is to "destroy Western civilization from within" - or sympathetic to its goal of bringing shariah to the United States.
Relatives of two young men who were recruited, indoctrinated and sent to engage in jihad provided frightening insights into the ways in which Muslim organizations, mosques, cultural centers and Islamic societies stealthily advance this objective. One means is via dawa - the proselytization of the politico-military-legal doctrine of shariah.
Particularly chilling was the account of a Somali-American living in Minnesota by the name of Abdirizak Bihi. His nephew, Burhan Hassan, was among those who joined and was killed fighting on behalf of the Islamist terrorist group al Shabab in Somalia. He relayed how his family was warned by community "leaders" not to go to the authorities for help lest they wind up in Guantanamo Bay or facing "eternal fire and hell."
Was this an isolated incident? Hardly. At least since the immediate aftermath of 9/11, prominent Muslim American organizations have encouraged their co-religionists not to cooperate with law enforcement. Among the most recent examples was a message on a CAIR website calling on its members to "Build a Wall of Resistance. Don't Talk to the FBI."
Of course, this narrative contrasts sharply with that promoted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and its ilk who take credit for successfully inseminating into the U.S. media the meme that they are actively "engaging" with law enforcement. Notably, MPAC takes credit for getting Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca called to testify at the King hearing for the purpose of attesting to their good citizenship.
Unfortunately for both the officer sporting a uniform with five stars and his Islamist friends, freshman Rep. Chip Cravaak (Republican of Minnessota) asked whether the sheriff was aware of CAIR's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood's franchise in Palestine, known as Hamas. The sheriff professed to know nothing of those associations. When Rep. Cravaak pointed out that the Department of Justice has demonstrated in federal court that such ties do exist, Sheriff Baca demurred and simply said, if there is that evidence, then such individuals, such organizations ought to be prosecuted.
Well, no kidding. They certainly should be prosecuted. And here is a question that future hearings of the Homeland Security Committee should address: Why hasn't the Council on American Islamic relations been prosecuted for being tied to Hamas, for working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood and specifically for fostering the efforts to bring shariah to America? After all, shariah is a seditious ideology and totalitarian program explicitly designed to hollow out, and ultimately to destroy, representative government and the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. There is every reason for such a prosecution to go forward, and we need to know why has not it happened to date.
There was one other evident reason why the Muslim Brotherhood's front groups were so determined to shut down the King hearings and excoriate him for having as witnesses anybody other than their hand-picked candidates - the blubbering first-Muslim-in-Congress Rep. Keith Ellison (a Democrat from Minnesota) and the clueless Sheriff Baca: Rep. King helped credential Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former naval officer and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, as a credible and inspiring voice for pro-American Muslims and Islamic reform.
We owe Pete King a debt of gratitude for defying those who would have shut him up and shut his hearings down. In so doing, he has laid bare important truths about the threat posed by shariah and its adherents, empowered those like Dr. Jasser who are courageously standing up against it and broken a taboo in a way that cries out for many more hearings, as soon as possible, on these and related subjects, by his committee and by others.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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