Rep. Peter King's much-awaited hearing, "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response" was a disappointment in several respects. It could have been instructive, but was largely run off the rails by unfriendly forces which prefer Americans not consider the danger of jihadist Muslims in their towns. And it was rendered useless by a complete failure to discuss immigration.
King had been clobbered for weeks by the friends of jihad, both from the usual mosque bunch and the Left, who have characterized him as a McCarthy-styled profiler who unfairly targets all Muslims who are cringing in fear because of cruel and violent Americans. Of course, it's a myth that there are large numbers of hate crimes against Muslims, as FBI reports have shown, so troublemakers like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have had to lower the bar on what constitutes aggression toward the Sons of Allah from actual violence to a disagreeable remark.
The Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee appeared to be using the obfuscatory talking points suggested by the Muslim Political Affairs Council. They misbehaved as much as they could within declining standards of Congressional comity.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is known among patriotic immigration reformers as one of the most obnoxious border erasers in Congress. She hasn't lost any of her unique style, although her hearing remarks were somewhat free-form, even quoting herself in the third person:
"I'm reminded of someone, a proverb, now quoted by Sheila Jackson Lee, cleaning a dirty kitchen, you can't clean it with dirty water. . . There are no loud signs of reasonings that are coming through this hearing. The reason is because it has already been classified as an effort to demonize and to castigate a whole broad base of human beings."[VIDEO: Sheila Jackson Lee's rant at terrorism committee hearing]
I take that as a thumbs down.
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, blubbered up a storm of tears during his testimony about a Pakistani immigrant, paramedic Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who died as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
Ellison's spin was that "some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith" [Watch]
Not so much, as exposed by Matthew Shaffer at National Review. It turns out that Hamdani was widely honored as a hero for rushing into the stricken WTC buildings to give medical aid. Only one early article in the New York Post reported concern—quite reasonable because Hamdani had kept his NYPD identification after he no longer worked for them, which would be a handy thing for a bad guy to have.
So Ellison's tears were of the crocodile variety. But his performance was effective theater for uncritical minds and got on the evening news.
Another low point: Rep. Jackie Speier's complaint that there weren't enough authoritative witnesses, a direct insult to two ordinary individuals, Melvin Bledsoe and Abdirizak Bihi, who each shared how a family member had been radicalized by promises of glorious jihad. Speier stated early in her question period, "While I think these anecdotes are interesting, I don't believe these are experts." She then confronted Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, asking, "Do you believe you have expertise to be speaking?"—even though he founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and has appeared numerous times in the media to explain Islam. [Watch.]
All the controversy appeared to chill King's message. Much of his presentation was a justification of why the hearings were necessary—namely the increased frequency of jihadist attacks with domestic connections. (See Faisal Shahzad (Immigrant Times Square Bomber)Threatens Further Jihad at Sentencing, and Memorial Day, The Posse Comitatus Act, and Immigrant Enemies.) His opening statement (Watch; Read.) identified the problem as increased recruitment by jihadists in America. His proposal:
"To combat this threat, moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community. As the Majority and Minority staff of the Senate Homeland Security Committee concluded in its report on 'Violent Islamist Extremism and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat', 'Muslim community leaders (and) religious leaders must play a more visible role in discrediting and providing alternatives to violent Islamist ideology.'"
Asking for more help from Muslims who reside in America—is that the extent of the Chairman's plan?
Given previous poor performance on the part of Muslims in helping authorities, assuming good will on the part of that tribe is iffy at best. A 2006 poll in Britain found 40 percent of Muslims want sharia law in the UK. Why should we assume anything different here?
King's hearing was reminiscent of Victor Davis Hanson's observation that America has become a therapeutic culture, weakening the national resolve. The therapeutic approach assumes we can fix any difficulty with the appropriate program. It does not fit millennial enemies like Islam, whose values are completely antithetical to our own.
Indeed, one of King's witnesses, perennial moderate Muslim Zuhdi Jasser, expressed ideas similar to the therapeutic model, which he sees as reforming Islam. Dr. Jasser is a proponent of bringing Islam into modernity and he has a positive view of his faith, in which George W/ Bush's notorious phrase "Religion of Peace" is not just a sick joke. He said:
"We need to create a deeply rooted theological identification with this society and especially with the American legal system and the American identity. All of our security hangs in the balance of this reform, this Islamic enlightenment process. Only Muslims can figure out how to get our young adults to identify with secular western society and its ideas. "[Zuhdi Jasser Testimony, March 10, 2011]
But Muslims regard the Koran as the perfectly dictated word of Allah (despite many contradictory passages) which therefore doesn't need fixing. Most reject the idea of an Islamic Reformation. So, while, reformers like Jasser (and others such as Asra Nomani and Nonie Darwish plug away admirably, but they have an impossible task.
How can any Islam-focused outreach program to better assimilate young Muslims work when years of American schooling and immersion in this society haven't?
This would have been a more interesting focus for King's committee: these people who chose jihad after rejecting American values—such as Portland would-be bomber Mohamed Osman Mohamud who attended Oregon schools starting in elementary grades; and Shirwa Ahmed, who seemed a well-adjusted graduate of a Minneapolis high school until he returned to Somalia to kill dozens and himself in Mogadishu.
Why is there so little interest in how American-born Nidal Hassan went from a coddled Army psychiatrist to a mass murderer at Fort Hood shouting "Allahu Akbar"? Why did he rebuff America so brutally after being so fawned on by the Army?
It could also be enlightening to focus more on Muslims who reject the extensive violent parts of Islam—a brave thing to do, since apostates are punishable by death. Ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written at length about her change from a devout Somali girl to a defender of Western values. Her books Infidel and Nomad are fascinating interior views of personal transformation.
Even after weeks of media criticism, a recent Rasmussen poll showed agreement with Rep. King—57 percent of respondents believing that not enough Muslims speak out against potential terror attacks against the country.
But this is hardly significant given the hearings' fundamental flaw: Chairman King brought a flyswatter to a gunfight. He claimed he would not be hamstrung by political correctness—but he was silent on the vital immigration issue.
Yet the only serious strategy to protect national security is stop Muslim immigration now. European experience already proves this. Rising percentages of Islamic populations consistently lead to violence and chaos in all societies. But the numbers are increasing here. A recent Pew study found that over 100,000 Muslim immigrants arrive in the U.S. yearly.
Indeed, if there is to be any hope of a West-friendly American Islam, it can only happen by preventing the immigration of extremists. Islam's reformers, like Zuhdi Jasser, should be joining me in calling for an end to Muslim immigration.
But the important thing is to stop Muslim immigration now. Why does America need to take this risk?
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. As an environmentalist, Brenda believes that America is vastly overpopulated and all immigration should be stopped anyway for decades at least. Her proposed number: ZERO.