Peter King, the
chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, announced his
intention to hold hearings on “radicalization” and “homegrown
terrorism.” These hearings single out the Muslim community in
America for public scrutiny. Although King insists that the goal
of his hearings is not to stigmatize American Muslims, by
selecting only members of that faith for scrutiny, he puts an
entire community under suspicion. In a letter sent to Mr. King on Feb. 22, 2011, a coalition
of a hundred and eight civil and human rights organizations call
on him to cancel the hearings. The letter expressed deep
concerns that the hearings will send the message that people of
certain faiths deserve less protection under the law.
Statement from PRA Executive Director Tarso Luís Ramos on the King Hearings
A generation ago, irresponsible pundits inflamed
anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment, claiming that the
election of then-Senator John F. Kennedy to the presidency would
put the White House under the control of Rome. Today, where
Muslims are concerned, it seems there’s no claim too absurd, no
charge too baseless to command the full attention of certain
public officials and even the investigatory powers of Congress.
Representative Peter King should know better.