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March 09, 2011

Rep. King: Meet Muslim American Heroes

Help us fight anti-Muslim bigotry

As a former interrogator who worked alongside Muslim American heroes in Iraq, I feel I need to speak out against the attacks on Muslim Americans by Congress. We have to do something. Representative Peter King begins his hearings tomorrow on the “radicalization” of America’s Muslim communities. I’d like Rep. King to have a talk with my interpreter who almost laid down his life for his adopted country. He is Muslim. I was with him the day he almost died—I wonder how many of the Islamophobes out there would put their life on the line for this country like he did? Meanwhile, Rep. King has the gall to insinuate that they are not American when it comes to war.1 I know what Muslim American interpreters and soldiers are doing for their country—some are now buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Representative King’s words are an insult to those heroes. The same day that my Muslim interpreter almost gave his life for the United States, I received a hate email saying all Muslims are terrorists. It literally turned my stomach. We need to stop demonizing an entire community. This is simply not the way to fight terrorism.  And it’s not who we are, as Americans. We must be able to separate radical extremists, like members of the Al Qaeda cult, from mainstream Muslims who share our values. It was not by alienating Muslims that my team got to al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And it was a Muslim-American interpreter who was by my side. Discrimination is not the answer. Join me in urging our elected leaders to support tolerance, sound counterterrorism policy, and human rights: write your representatives urging they listen to the facts, not fear, in dealing with terrorism. Matthew Alexander was the head of the elite team that found al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq
1 - "[D]espite a person's ethnic background or religious background, when a war begins, we're all Americans. But in this case [referring to Muslims], this is not the situation. And whether it's pressure, whether it's cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should." Rep. Peter King to Frank Gaffney, http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/11/king-muslims-american/