So, Pete King and those hearings. What’s up with that?

A quick and dirty post, with some good links for those looking to catch up on the heck is up with the King hearings into the American Muslim Community.

  1. Excellent one-stop shopping post at Mother Jones, laying out the backstory and facts of the hearings: Peter King’s Radicalization Hearings, Explained.
  2. The House Committee on Homeland Security site – the bare structure of the hearings, including panel composition, and, not for nothing, their actual name: “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”
  3. Adam Serwer’s excellent post explaining why the composition of the panels is part of the problem,”King’s Strategically Arranged Hearing Panels”: “The only Muslims on the third panel will be people prepared to parrot King’s unsubstantiated, negative views of Islam and American Muslims.”
  4. Adam Serwer’s excellent post on the inconsistencies in King’s approach to terrorism as a concept: “But How Does King Feel About Hamas?”: “If King applied his principles consistently, he’d be calling for the Obama administration to negotiate with Hamas.”
  5. Adams Serwer’s excellent post (are you picking up on a pattern here? But I digress) on the facts of Muslim assistance to law enforcement in dealing with terrorism threats, “Terror Plots Foiled With the Assistance of the American Muslim Community”: “Rep. Peter King of New York [has been] repeating the widely held fiction that American Muslims don’t do anything to fight terrorism. Here’s a list of terror plots that have been foiled with the assistance of the American Muslims.”
  6. The study to which Adam refers in his post, “A Tracking of Plots by Muslim and Non-Muslim Violent Extremists Against the United States”: “Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials to prevent over 4 out of every 10 Al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11. Muslim communities helped law enforcement prevent three-quarters of all Al-Qaeda related plots threatening the U.S. since December 2009.”
  7. A study that finds that — just like in the Christian and Jewish communities — the more religiously active American Muslims are, the more likely they are to participate in civic life: “American Muslims Find Mosques Help Muslims Integrate into American Political Life.”
  8. My friend Dave von Ebers on the dangers of the constant drip-drip-drip of hate and dehumanization that goes beyond the events in Yorba Linda, and beyond high-profile Congressional hearings, and is simply part of some folks’ daily life: “The Consequences of Prejudice.”
  9. My earlier post with suggestions (including sample scripts and letters) for responding to the recent wave of Islamophobia, including the fact that a member of the US Congress is casting aspersions on an entire faith community.
  10. UPDATE: How could I have forgotten? Dean Obeidallah, a terrific Arab-American comedian best known probably for his appearances in the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour (which was outstanding, BTW), will be — and I am not making this up — live tweeting the hearings (!). He normally tweets at @deanofcomedy, but apparently during the hearings, he’ll be tweeting on the @whatunitesus account (the account associated with advocacy group WhatUnites.Us) — which is only right and meet, as what certainly unites us, on good days, is an ability to laugh at our all too human ridiculousness. And that’s what these hearings are: ridiculous. Check him/it out!

Image by Ridzdesign.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Dear Rep. Rohrabacher; Or: You, too, can take part in democracy!

The observant reader is by now aware that I crosspost most of what appears here at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, a joint that gets less Black, but no less Angry, by the day. We are Team Benetton, hear us roar!

Be that as it may, Angry Black Lady is also a Lady With Many Smart Friends, and one of her friends, Kumar, drafted a really wonderful letter to his US Representative, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), in response to the ugly events that took place in Yorba Linda on February 13. I wanted to post it here, as it really is a terrific example of what these letters can look like. “I challenge you,” Kumar writes,”to toss aside your party affiliation and stand for dignity, respect and tolerance of all human beings, regardless of religion” — and that’s pretty much the whole enchilada right there, isn’t it?

Mr. Rohrabacher,

I am writing to an elected official for the first time in my 43 years.

I’m sure you know by now what took place in Yorba Linda on February 13th.  I am referring, by the way, to the so-called protest, not the peaceful, family-oriented, faith-based humanitarian event that was disrupted in a shameful manner.

I call on you to speak up publicly and loudly AGAINST the participation of and encouragement by three elected officials, two of whom are your colleagues in Congress.  As Federal Representatives, they are sworn to uphold the Constitution, but this video shows that they did exactly the opposite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutFkykjmbM

I think it should be abundantly clear from the exact words of the politicians at the “protest” that their views aren’t actually about freedom of speech or freedom of assembly or having alternative viewpoints.  Rather, these officials are clearly speaking of restricting others’ freedom to practice the religion of their choice, and putting their support behind the generalizations that people make as a result of ignorance, fear and hatred.  The latter should be repugnant to any decent human being, but the former is certainly more dangerous to a free society, particularly when government officials are involved.

I don’t know exactly how to implore you to do something about this, except to say “Do something about this!”  I’m asking you to make it clear, in a public forum, that advocating the deaths of fellow citizens, solely based on their religion, is PRECISELY what this country was founded to overcome.

I don’t really care that you and these other elected officials are of the same political party or that you serve neighboring districts.  In fact, I challenge you to toss aside your party affiliation and stand for dignity, respect and tolerance of all human beings, regardless of religion.  If these elected officials’ actions are allowed to happen without consequence, then bigotry begins to become institutionalized in government offices.

I will wait and see what you do (or don’t do).

Write to your people, people! Click here for that list of links and ideas that I posted the other day (I included a short sample letter, but frankly, Kumar’s is a whole lot better).

And one last thing: Matt Duss, National Security Editor at the Center for American Progress and a terrific writer whose work appears at The Nation, The American Prospect, Think Progress (and lots of other worthy places), pointed his Twitter followers today toward this really useful study:  “American Muslims Find Mosques Help Muslims Integrate into American Political Life.” The most impressive number from the study (to my mind) is: 95% — that is, 95% of Muslims identified as having “high levels of religiosity” feel that “Islam is compatible with political participation in the United States.”

Here’s the study’s conclusion (but it’s well worth reading the whole thing — it’s even short!):

Despite the popularized idea that Muslims are radicalized around the country in mosques, we find that mosques help Muslims integrate into US society, and in fact have a very productive role in bridging the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States. This is a finding in social science that is consistent with decades of research on other religious groups such as Jews, Protestants and Catholics where church attendance and religiosity has been proven to result in higher civic engagement and support for core values of the American political system. Likewise, mosques are institutions that should be encouraged to function as centers of social and political integration in America.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

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