Rep. Peter King's congressional hearings Thursday on the radicalization of American Muslims reminds me of the TV commercial, "There's clear, then there's Claritin clear."
My eyes are not itchy and my nose isn't running, but my mind is foggy about the true goals and objectives of these hearings.
This is what I mean.
The Muslim in me would like to know the "Claritin clear" intent behind these hearings. Is it to demonize Islam as a faith? Is it to broad brush all Muslims in America? Is a separate line for Muslims at the airport security checkpoint a possible outcome of these hearings? Will these hearings lead to a ban on hijab? King has to remove the fog for Muslimericans (a word now becoming a phenomenon) like me.
You might argue that King has repeatedly said that these hearings are not about singling out Islam. But I am having a hard time understanding why someone like King -- who in 1985 said that "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it" -- would conveniently ignore reports that 48 of 69 individuals who plotted against U.S. targets were arrested at an early stage of their activities largely due to the cooperation of Muslim Americans. Or the fact that Muslim Americans provided tips in 48 out of 120 terrorist cases in the United States.
But despite such cooperation by Muslims, why did 32 percent of Americans say they believe Muslims to be less loyal to the U.S., according to a 2007 Newsweek poll? And why did 52 percent of Americans say they were worried about "radicals within the U.S. Muslim community" when surveyed, again, by Newsweek in 2010?
So let's put the Muslim Americans to the "Claritin clear" test. Our job is not to simply cooperate with authorities to foil a terror plot. We, Muslimericans, are also responsible for instilling the peaceful core teachings of Islam in our children.
We must preach and practice Islam in its most pristine form, the way Islam was revealed by the Holy Quran and championed by Prophet Muhammad.
The Quran does not mention the word stoning even once, yet we see the so-called Muslim scholars defending this barbaric practice.
The Prophet expressed loyalty toward his homeland despite severe persecution, yet we see Muslims hesitating to talk about their loyalty to the United States.
The Quran offers no punishment for blasphemy, yet we hear no condemnation of these practices by American Muslims.
And the Prophet never sanctioned anyone to be killed for apostasy, yet we see the Muslim clergy mute when it comes to defending such dogmas on prime-time television.
And these flawed interpretations of Islam are penetrating the minds of Muslim-American youth via the Internet and dinner table conversations.
Let's be "Claritin clear" on this question: Is Islam a religion of love, or hate?
I say that Islam is absolutely a religion of love. It expects believers to love the Creator and love His creation. The Muslim-American scholars can support this answer by sharpening their condemnation of the above-mentioned hateful innovations within peaceful Islam.
The true aim of these hearings should be to pinpoint the root causes for why a very tiny minority of American Muslims has grown radical or violent. Such an aim is also in the interest of the American Muslim communities at large to help isolate such individuals who bring Islam in disrepute.
Last year, I saw a banner at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the United States' annual convention in Virginia where many non-Muslim guests were invited. It boldly stated: "Love for All, Hatred for None."
For me, a message like that is Claritin clear.
Faheem Younus is an adjunct faculty for religion/history at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County and a clinical associate professor at the University of Maryland. He can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on AOL News
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more