Honest people are never touchy about the matter of being trusted. AYN RAND
American Muslim leaders, who have struggled to present a clear public voice or organize politically in the decade since Sept. 11, are increasingly apprehensive about the direction Rep. Pete King will take when he convenes hearings next month on the threat posed by radical Islam in America.
King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, plans to focus on the Times Square bombing attempt and the Fort Hood shooting, both involving American-born Muslims, as well as other incidents and on what he sees as the failure of Muslim leadership to combat extremism.
King has been critical of the Obama administration for failing to take the threat of domestic terrorism seriously and has been sparring with Muslim leaders since soon after Sept. 11 for not taking their own steps to combat it.
“The leadership of the community is not geared to cooperation,” King told POLITICO.
His upcoming hearings have caused deep concern and consternation among various Arab and Muslim advocacy groups across the country that fear King’s witness list will help define, for the purposes of the American public conversation, which Muslim leaders are legitimate and which should be regarded as extremists.
UPDATE: Rep. King says he will not call Spencer or Emerson. This is disturbing. Why would King eliminate the two most knowledgable and brilliant sources in America? Between the two of them, they know everything on the ground and in the book. He is caving before the gavel has hit the block:
In a move that will come as a relief to Muslim leaders, King told POLITICO that he’s not planning to call as witnesses such Muslim community critics as the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Steve Emerson and Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer, who have large followings among conservatives but are viewed as antagonists by many Muslims.
King aims, he said, to call retired law enforcement officials and people with “the real life experience of coming from the Muslim community.” Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in the House and a critic of the hearings, will likely be a minority witness, according to both King and the Minnesota Democrat.
The focus, King said, will be on — among other topics — reported complaints from Somali Muslims that the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups discouraged them from talking to the authorities about young men who left to fight for the Islamist cause in Somalia and on cases like that of the imam who — while ostensibly cooperating with the FBI — allegedly tipped off a would-be subway bomber off as investigators closed in.
Muslim leaders respond that American Muslims have been key to an array of terror investigations, beginning with the Muslim street vendor who first noticed the smoking car in Times Square.
Jihad in America over the past month: Fiery Bomber Warns DHS Napolitano to Stop Counter Terror Measures Against Jihad