Today, Representative Peter King held his House Homeland Security Committee hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” The hearings have been courting controversy and opposition since their announcement, and one of the ways Representative King sought to mitigate this is by expanding his witness list to include people like Los Angeles County Sherriff Leroy Baca – an outspoken advocate of engagement with the Muslim community – and Representative Keith Ellison, one of the only two Muslim congressmen.
Representative Ellison’s testimony included many salient counterpoints to Representative King’s assumption that the Muslim community is a threat to be addressed, including the fact that 40 percent of all domestic terror plots have been prevented with the help of the Muslim American community. But the most powerful part of his testimony came with the story of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old paramedic and first responder on 9/11 who lost his life that day.
Fighting back tears, Representative Ellison described how, after 9/11, Hamdani’s character and loyalty to his country were viciously smeared just because he was a Muslim. Representative King does the same to the entire American Muslim community with these hearings, assuming that Muslims are a threat because of their religion and culture, when the evidence shows just the opposite.
Read Human Rights First’s statement submitted today to the House Homeland Security Committee, see what else we’ve been doing to fight fear – and send your representatives a letter urging that they say no to the new McCarthyism.