I am against terrorism. I also think that Muslims are as misguided as Christians when it comes to believing in an Almighty, and I'm grateful that in this day and age and in this country I am free to state my atheist views. I also think that the US is doing a good job looking for terrorists and neutralizing threats. And finally I think that what Peter King is up to is unnecessary, counter productive and judging from the reaction it's getting, a way to appeal to the base. The hearing on Thursday was divided starkly along partisan lines, the NY Times reports. Sheriff Leroy D. Baca of Los Angeles, the only member of law enforcement at the hearings, testified that American Muslims do cooperate with the police and that "40 percent of foiled domestic terror plots had been thwarted with the help of Muslims." Congressman Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims in the House, broke down in tears while telling a story of a young Muslim medical technician who died on 9/11 trying to help out the victims of the attack but was initially assumed to be part of the plot. (May I mention at this point that crying politicians are cheesy?)
ThinkProgress had this little article full of interesting statistics. Checking King's claim that "it makes no sense to talk about other types of extremism, when the main threat to the United States today is talking about al Qaida," here are some numbers from the 2011 terrorism statistic report:
- Since 9/11 Muslims (US and foreign) have been involved in 45 plots, non-Muslims (US only) in 80
- Right wing extremist and white supremacist account for 63 terror plots
- Nearly 4 in 10 Al-Qaida related plots in the United States have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by the Muslim community themselves
My point is not that terrorism is a hollow threat, but that singling out Muslims in this way is unhelpful. It is not going to accomplish anything except piss of more Muslims, which is hardly productive.