I attended the kick-off of Rep. Peter King's Congressional hearings last Thursday entitled, "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." Or as I to refer to: "The Super Bowl of Islamaphobia."
The hearing had much of what I expected but was missing one thing.
It had emotion as Rep. Keith Ellison was moved to tears as he described an American-Muslim first responder who was killed trying to save people in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
It had heated moments such as when Reps. Shelia Jackson Lee and Bennie Thompson defied Rep. King by denouncing the limited scope and the inappropriate message of these hearings by just focusing on American-Muslims, noting that the threats to America do not come from just one religion or group as evidenced by the arrest Monday of a Washington State man -- who had ties to a white supremacist group -- for planting a bomb at this year's Martin Luther King parade in Spokane which thankfully did not explode.
It even had moments of comedy such as when Rep. King noted that many Americans were opposing the hearings, even Kim Kardashian. As a warning to Peter King, you don't want to piss-off Kim Kardashian -- have you ever seen her reality show? It could get ugly.
So what was missing from the hearings? A little thing I like to call: Facts.
At least facts to support Rep. King's continual charge that the American-Muslim community has failed to cooperate with law enforcement.
Rep. King has consistently made this claim in his myriad of recent TV interviews -- King loves being on TV -- he is the Charlie Sheen of Congress.
With this claim being the crux of King's charge against the American-Muslim community, you would expect that he would have called at least a few law enforcement officials to testify in support of it, right?
So how many did Peter King call? Zero. None. Not one. Instead, he called three non-expert American-Muslims who offered only anecdotal evidence about their own experiences, unrelated to the law enforcement issue.
Why didn't Rep. King call any law enforcement officials? Rep. King didn't offer any explanation at the hearing Thursday, but in past interviews he has asserted that these law enforcement officials do not want to testify in public about this issue.
Then here is my advice to Rep. King: Subpoena them. As the chairman of a Congressional committee, you have the power to compel them to appear. This is a matter of national security. I know you are aware of this, which makes me wonder why you didn't do so.
To Rep. King and the others who continually make scurrilous allegations against the American-Muslim community I say this: Show me the facts! (This line should be screamed ala Cuba Gooding Jr. as "Rod Tidwell" in the movie Jerry Maguire when he famously yelled: "Show me the money!")
If you say American-Muslims are not cooperating with law enforcement, let's hear from law enforcement officials. If you assert that American-Muslims want sharia law -- a charge wholly fabricated by the right -- then lets hear evidence where this is being espoused by mainstream American-Muslim groups.
If you are gong to label an American-Muslim organization as being involved in terrorism, then I beg you to give those facts to the FBI or US Attorney and charge them with a crime.
This is not just a Muslim-American, issue --it's an American issue. If elected officials or other public figures make allegations smearing Americans of any race, religion, or ethnicity, then we need to demand that they support those claims with real facts. Anything less is truly un-American.
Amazingly, the only person from law enforcement who did testify at the hearing was Los Angles County Sheriff Lee Baca -- who was called by the Democrats on the committee. Guess what Sheriff Baca did? He showed me the facts!
Sheriff Baca -- who also sits on the board of directors for the National County Sheriff's association -- testified that his offices work with various ethnic, religious, cultural, groups in the LA area and, "nowhere is that relationship more positive than that which exists between my agency and the American Muslim Community."
Sheriff Baca also testified that there have been 118 total terror plots against the US since 9/11, with 77 of these plots organized "by domestic, non-Muslim perpetrators."
But probably the most instructive fact offered by Sheriff Baca was that, "American Muslims helped foil seven of the last ten plots propagated by Al-Qaeda within the United States."
That means that seventy-percent of the last ten Al Qaeda plots against our country were stopped because of the cooperation of American-Muslims with US law enforcement. Those are the facts. Interestingly, Rep. King didn't contest those facts at the hearing.
Rep. King plans to have more hearings on this subject in the months ahead. I hope that the American public -- as well as the media -- will demand that Rep. King offer credible proof to support his serious allegations, asking questions such as: What are the specific facts that support your charges? What are the qualifications of your so-called "expert" witnesses? Where are the law enforcement officials who you claim support your position?
If Rep. King is going to investigate/prosecute the American-Muslim community, our America system of values and justice demands that he prove his case with facts or stop smearing us with factually unsupported claims that fuel the fires of hate and mistrust.
Rep. King -- I respectfully ask in my best impression of Cuba Gooding, Jr. that you: Show us the facts!
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