During a Homeland Security committee hearing last week on the "Radicalization of Muslim-Americans," Texas Congressman Al Green (D) criticized the hearings as biased and unfair to Muslims, suggesting that the only way to justify them is if Congress would also conduct a "hearing on the radicalization of Christians."
Though his position may seem balanced, in fact, it reveals a dangerous mix of irrationality, moral relativism, and emotionalism—all disastrous traits in a U.S. Congressman. Consider some of Green's assertions:
I don't think that most people oppose hearings on radicalization. I do not, not — N-O-T — oppose hearings on radicalization. I do oppose hearings that don't focus on the entirety of radicalization…. [W]hy not have a hearing on the radicalization of Christians?... People who see the hearings and never hear about the hearing on the radicalization of Christianity have to ask themselves, "Why is this missing?"
Fair question—"Why not have a hearing on the radicalization of Christians?" Before responding, we must acknowledge that the word "radicalization" simply means "to go to the root or origin of something," in this case, religion: a Muslim radical goes to the root teachings of Islam; a Christian radical goes to the root teachings of Christianity. Accordingly, there are certainly "Christian radicals" in America. The question is, do they pose the same risks to America as Muslim radicals?
Green and all moral relativists naturally do not want to pursue such a question, opting to pretend that any form of "radicalization"—regardless of the "root teachings"—is evil. They are certainly not interested in determining the fundamentals of Christianity and Islam, and whether they are equally prone to violence, terrorism, conquest, etc. While this is not the place to contrast modern Christianity's apolitical and largely passive nature with modern Islam's political and largely aggressive nature—a theme elaborated here—suffice it to say that, while thousands of modern-day Muslim leaders are on record quoting Islamic scriptures to justify violence and hate, one is hard pressed to find examples of modern Christian leaders preaching violence and hate—and justifying it through scripture.
The Saudi Grand Mufti, the highest religious official of Saudi Arabia, Islam's holiest nation, called on the destruction of all regional churches, quoting Islamic texts. Can Green find an example of an equally authoritative Christian leader calling for the destruction of mosques—and supporting it through the Bible?
Green went on to ask "Why don't we go to the next step and ask, how is that a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, white female in the United States of America can become radicalized to the point of wanting to do harm to this country? We don't have that type of hearing. That's the problem."
Thus, not only does the Congressman irrationally conflate the teachings of all religions together, he also conflates religion with race (and gender) implying that the only reason there are hearings on Muslim radicalization is because Muslims are not white, whereas those "equally-dangerous" blue-eyed, blond-haired female Christian "radicals" are apparently getting a free pass to terrorize America.
This logic is flawed on many levels. Islam is not a race; there are Muslims of all colors, just like there are Christians of all colors. Moreover, there are indeed "blue-eyed, blond-haired" terrorists in the world, including females—yet these, too, are overwhelmingly Muslim. It is dishonest for Green to try to take the focus off of Islamic radicalization and pin it on that all-purpose bogeyman, "racism."
Regardless, this argument of Islam as a race is popular and was, for example, used by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who also called these hearings "racist." Likewise, a former American soldier discussing the Fort Hood shootings lamented that "When a white guy shoots up a post office, they call that going postal. But when a Muslim [namely, Nidal Hasan] does it, they call it jihad."
Notice the confusion; as if a "white guy" and a "Muslim" represent different races. Of course, if a person of any color goes on a random shooting spree, it would be racist to pin it on his race. But if a person of any color goes on a shooting spree—while waving the Koran, screaming the jihadi paean "Allahu Akbar!" or otherwise rationalizing his actions in Islamic terms, as did Nidal Hasan—then we are talking about a shooting spree motivated by a learned ideology or worldview that has nothing to do with the murderer's race.
From beginning to end, Green—like his congressman colleague Keith Ellison, whose objection to these hearings culminated in a teary-eyed breakdown—relied on emotionalism to make his point: he opened his statement by offering the Islamic greeting assalama alikum to Muslims present, dreamily observing: "Isn't it wonderful that the grandson of a Christian minister can sit on the Homeland Security Committee and say assalama alikum?"—a meaningless point that does not change the fact that in Islam, Muslims are only allowed to say "Peace upon you" to fellow Muslims, never to non-Muslim infidels, who by nature are deemed undeserving Muslim well-wishing.
Finally, Green concluded his sanctimonious attack by saying "I do know what it feels like to look like a Muslim in the minds of some people and to be demeaned in a public venue…. I look forward to the day that we'll have that hearing that deals with the radicalization of Christians in America"—again, all meaningless race-related rhetoric and moral relativism, the sole value of which is to obfuscate the issue at hand: the real threat of "radicalization of Muslim-Americans."
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.