- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2011


The White House and left-wing activists are vigorously opposing congressional hearings on homegrown Islamic radicalism. Apparently they don’t think there’s a threat, or that if the government ignores it, danger will go away.

Rep. Peter King, New York Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, will hold hearings this week on Muslim extremism in the United States. The Obama administration and other pro-Islamic activists argue that because the vast majority of American Muslims aren’t violent extremists, Congress has no business examining the growing numbers who are. This redirection is tantamount to saying that because most people are law-abiding, the police should ignore the study of criminal psychology.

Mr. King’s planned hearings will shine a bright light on a challenge the Obama administration has studiously ignored, with fatal results. Overlooking the motives of Muslim terrorists has become an O Force obsession. Every time a terrorist incident takes place that has all the hallmarks of a jihadist strike, official statements are suspiciously mute on the religious motivations that led to the attacks. This sends a clear signal to the federal bureaucracy that U.S. government officials who take a special interest in the Islamic aspect of the terror threat are asking for a quick end to their careers. We saw the practical results of this flawed approach in the Fort Hood massacre. The shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, was clearly identifiable as a threat but no action was taken against the radical hothead specifically because he’s a Muslim. Political correctness was more important than the lives and safety of our troops.

The White House goes to great pains to claim extremists propound a sham view of Islam. On Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told a Muslim audience that extremists in their midst “falsely claim to be fighting in the name of Islam.” Appeasing propaganda aside, the extremists can well articulate reasons why their claim isn’t false, and these arguments cannot be countered by ignoring them.

In May 2010 at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., visibly nervous when the discussion turned to matters Islamic, stated U.S.-born radical cleric and al Qaeda stalwart Anwar al-Awlaki “has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of [the faith].” The attorney general didn’t elaborate why he felt his personal interpretation of Islam carried more weight than that of al-Awlaki, an Islamic scholar formerly of high repute in Washington circles.

The Obama administration persistently has stricken the concept of Islamic extremism - whether foreign or domestic - from U.S. public policy. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security drafted a Domestic Extremist Lexicon that listed Jewish extremism as a threat and described various strands of purportedly dangerous Christian extremism but made no mention of any form of Muslim extremism. This document was pulled along with other questionable Homeland Security publications once their contents became public. The February 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review discussed terrorism and violent extremism but didn’t refer to radical Islam in any context. Likewise, the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review avoids any terminology related to Islam.

Mr. King’s hearings are a useful step toward opening up the debate on the pressing problem of domestic Islamic extremism. Mr. Obama’s inexplicable tendency to turn aside from the question has harmed the ability of the United States to deal with this threat. Although largely silent until now, American Muslims should welcome the opportunity to expose their coreligionists for whom the United States is, in the words of Osama bin Laden, “the worst civilization in the history of mankind.”

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