Representative King's Thursday’s hearing before the committee on homeland security, “The Radicalization of Muslim Americans,” threatens to alienate the Muslim-American community who has been critical in our fight against domestic terrorism, to incite fear of Muslim-Americans who are painted with a broad brush of “radicalization” despite overwhelmingly having no attachment to radical movements, and promoting Islamophobia and hate-violence.
Identifying extremism and potential terrorism threats are important tasks that are not resolved through singling out any one group. The Triangle Centre on Terrorism and Homeland Security reports that out of 120 tips on terrorism plots, 48 came from Muslim-Americans. In contrast, the number of Muslim-Americans arrested on terrorism charges numbered 20 last year out of a population of four to six million. Perhaps you can recall the bomb attack thwarted last year by a Muslim-American who reported the suspicious activity. Muslim-Americans are not our enemy. They are one of our greatest allies in weeding out radical extremism. We gain nothing in alienating Muslim-Americans and risk much—we risk making our country less safe.
In addition, we have seen a rise in anti-Muslim hate violence following heated rhetoric from politicians and the media. A hearing such as the one that is proposed adds fuel to this fire and puts lives at risk.
Instead of a panel focused solely on Muslim-Americans, the committee should widen the scope and focus on extremism within all sectors. Terrorism and ideological violence is a complex issue, deserving of complex conversations and not broad brushstrokes over one group of people aiming to represent some kind of easy answer.
Photo Credit: Viktor Nagornyy
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