By Wilfredo Amr Ruiz
Once again, New York Congressman Peter King has made his appearance before the Islamophobic Muslim Hysteria Circus. Reacting to Jose Pimentel’s arrest on alleged terrorism charges, King thoughtlessly stated that Muslim “converts are definitely a threat”. According to a recent Huffington Post report, King stated that converts who become radicalized are sometimes “the most dedicated, if you will” to carrying out violent attacks. These irresponsible and reckless statements are completely baseless and aimed to nurture xenophobia. His rhetoric bashes anything related to Islam with the outrageous goal of exploiting Muslims in America for personal political gain. In the past, King convened various Congressional hearings targeting a so-called radicalized Muslim community.
Radicalization and terrorism do not have a particular face, ethnicity or religion. As a matter of fact, the worst terrorist act perpetrated by American citizens on our soil were not committed by fanatic Muslims, but by people outside the Muslim community. Case in point is that of Timothy McVeigh and his bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building claiming nearly 200 hundred lives and 700 casualties.
The real issue that poses an imminent threat to our citizens is the proliferation of Islamophobia and intolerance. Stereotypic rhetoric has fueled radical extremists such as Anders Behring Breivik, who recently killed dozens of innocents in multiple terrorist acts. Again, it was not Muslim converts who inspired his public manifesto. Rather, he took his operational and inspirational guidance from American neo-fascists. The terrorist technique of utilizing fertilizers as explosives was clearly copied from McVeigh in Oklahoma; and his psychopathic motivation resembles that of the well-known Unabomber and anti-Islam groups such as the one led by Robert Spencer. Spencer is a well-known Islamophobe engaged in a relentless full-time campaign to disparage Islam and Muslims. He was cited on Breivik’s terrorist manifesto over 50 times.
Pimentel’s arrest is a sad story that presents challenges to all components of our society, Muslim or non-Muslim communities alike. Many are still trying to understand how an individual under NYPD surveillance for two years failed to catch the attention of federal law enforcement agencies and the most sophisticated counter-terrorism teams. In two years of surveillance, not a single person or institution, foreign or domestic, was involved in any way whatsoever with Pimentel’s dealings. The legal community anxiously awaits an explanation regarding the extent of NYPD police informant involvement in the planning and execution of the criminal acts. Meanwhile, police procedures evoke media attention the past two weeks, as NYPD is under fire regarding allegations of police brutality while dispersing Occupy Wall Street protesters. Additionally, the Department is undergoing another wave of vigorous disapproval from an appalled Muslim community that alleges victimization by racial, ethnic and religious profiling and spying in the past years by a coordinated scheme of the “NYPD Demographics Unit” together with the CIA.
Recently, the Associated Press exposed an operation in which NYPD spied on Muslim leaders who figure prominently in community outreach efforts, and infiltrated Muslim student groups not suspected of committing any crime. Meanwhile, we saw Mayor Bloomberg present a well-orchestrated press conference in which NYPD was lauded for foiling an imminent terrorist attack. Let us all be alert as to how this investigation proceeds and what findings are presented.
Peter King’s targeting of the Muslim community is wrong and should cease swiftly. His attitude damages not only the Muslim community but all minority communities. King must learn once and for all that terrorism and extremism come from right and left; conservatives and liberals; believers and non-believers; Jews, Christian and Muslims. Terrorism does not have a face and trying to strictly associate it with Islam is very dangerous. King’s statements that “converts are definitely a threat” constitute fickleness to the principle of Freedom of Religion on which the founding fathers established the American Nation. Peter King’s disregard for our rights is a clear act of treason and betrayal of the Constitution he swore to defend.
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