America deserves better than McCarthy-style witch hunts

Wisconsin takes the floor!
February 21, 2011
Former FBI and CIA officials share BORDC’s concerns
March 21, 2011

Ahead of Rep. Peter King’s divisive and Islamophobic hearings in the House Homeland Security Committee this week, I spoke at a press conference to denounce the dangerous, untrue, and un-American canard that Muslim Americans have been unwilling to cooperate with federal authorities on addressing extremist violence. The clip below aired yesterday on CNN, highlighting my point that Rep. King’s effort to “vilify[] vulnerable communities….is a threat that should concern all of us…not just as Muslim Americans, and not just as allies embracing an inclusive society, but as Americans committed to defending our nation’s most shared, fundamental values.” Rep. King risks becoming our generation’s Joseph McCarthy. If the House truly wanted to investigate and put a stop to domestic terrorism, it would examine all domestic terror threats, including those demonstrated by extremists who have attacked federal buildings in Oklahoma and Texas. Instead, the House Homeland Security Committee is persecuting Muslims, assigning guilt by association to seven million law-abiding Americans who comprise our nation’s most ethnically diverse religious community. In fact, many government officials, including US Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca (the only law enforcement official invited to testify at Rep. King’s hearings) have confirmed that Muslim Americans have repeatedly proven their loyalty, and willingness to help stop domestic terror threats.

(I’m embarrassed for having mistaken Senator Eugene McCarthy for Senator Joseph McCarthy—two senators who shared little in common beyond their name—but thankfully my error was neither substantive nor significant.) Wednesday’s press conference was also covered by a number of other news outlets, including Agence France Presse, the Huffington Post, and ABC News. King’s hearings began yesterday, and he plans to continue them over the rest of the year.