"Islamophobia!" "McCarthyism!" "Bigotry!" Islamists and those who apologize for them have been running their fog machines at full blast in preparation for Congressman Peter King's March 10 hearing on Muslim radicalization in America and what the Islamic community is doing to combat it. However, arguments that the inquiry is based on false premises cannot stand up to the data. Islamist Watch offers brief rebuttals to three important and well-worn obfuscations:
Claim: Islamic extremism is no more worthy of attention than other types of extremism. Islamist groups, the ACLU, congressmen, and pundits have pushed the meme, with many pointing to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security's recent analysis of 2010 data. It finds "more than 20 terrorist plots by non-Muslims in the United States in 2010," compared to 20 Muslim-American terror suspects. Yet the report actually bolsters King's thesis that radical Islam requires special scrutiny. With Muslims comprising around one percent of the population, roughly equal numbers of Muslims and non-Muslims engaging in terrorism would mean that the problem is a hundred times more prevalent among U.S. Muslims. Hence, terrorism can be curtailed most efficiently by focusing on Muslim radicalization, just as King posits.
Claim: Radical beliefs are rare in the U.S. Muslim population. A 2007 Pew poll has been cited as proof that American Muslims exhibit little radicalism, but its results are far from reassuring. Five percent of U.S. Muslims indicated a favorable view of al-Qaeda; another 27% did not know or refused to answer. Eight percent stated that suicide bombings can be justified at least "sometimes." Even the one percent who said that such jihadist attacks "often" are justified amounts to tens of thousands of radicals presenting a grave challenge to homeland security. King is right for investigating where they pick up these ideas.
Claim: Muslims help thwart terrorist plots. The Triangle Center study and a second by MPAC, which state that Muslims have helped disrupt a third of post-9/11 terror plots involving their community, are being used to counter King's assertion that Muslims give insufficient aid to law enforcement. Yes, Muslims have played a role in derailing some plots, but this has happened despite efforts of prominent Muslim groups. Consider CAIR. In recent years, it threatened to suspend contact with the FBI over informants, was protested by Minneapolis Muslims who accused it of hampering investigations of jihad recruitment, claimed entrapment of terror suspects, and was shamed when its San Francisco branch employed a "Don't Talk to the FBI" poster. The real issue is how much more assistance Muslims would provide if not for the obstructionism of CAIR and others.
Some foes of jihad have taken pessimistic views of King's approach, but his hearing already has borne fruit. Massive resistance to probing Muslim extremism has exposed Islamist organizations' true mindset and "pathetic record on combating Islamic radicalism." As reformist Muslim Asra Nomani notes, "Our worst enemies in America … are Muslim interest groups and leaders, who do more to deny the problem than defeat it." Peter King (contact: Pete.King@mail.house.gov or 202-225-7896) deserves thanks for helping put their destructive agenda on full display.
March 10, 2011, Update: The Investigative Project has posted an excellent summary of the hearing.
March 25, 2011, Update: A new Islamist Watch blog post reflects on the hearing and the misplaced priorities exhibited by Congressman Keith Ellison and his allies.