ON MARCH 10, Representative Peter King (R-NY), who has alleged that the vast majority of U.S. mosques are run by extremists, held a hearing on radicalization of Muslims in America. The event generated an astonishing reaction—from just about everyone. Demonstrators, both in favor of his position and against, gathered outside Mr. King’s offices on Long Island. The congressman requested additional security, and Capitol police were deployed to protect the hearing room as well as his workplace in Washington. Some pundits praised Mr. King for speaking the unspeakable on a topic usually beleaguered by political correctness. The Tea Party Patriots’ Facebook page urged supporters to call and stand behind Congressman King for his courage. But there were others who lambasted him for his lack of political sensitivity, pointing out that non-Muslim domestic terrorists are greater in number than Muslim ones. And Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) held up a copy of the Constitution while arguing that the hearing could well violate laws against religious discrimination: “this hearing today is playing right now into al-Qaeda, around the world.” Meanwhile, Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of two Muslims in the House, was unable to hold back tears as he recalled a Muslim paramedic who died while responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Certainly Mr. King has had quite a lot to say about Muslims in America—much of it seemingly inflammatory.
“There is a real threat to the country from the Muslim community, and the only way to get to the bottom of it is to investigate what is happening.”
“Over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams. Certainly from what I’ve seen and dealings I’ve had, that number seems accurate.”