Archive for Radicalization

Peter King Plans To Keep Probing For Muslim ‘Radicalization’ In 2012

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by loonwatch

Good old IRA terror supporting congressman Peter King:

Peter King Plans To Keep Probing For Muslim ‘Radicalization’ In 2012

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee signaled Thursday he intends to keep investigating the American Muslim community despite a report this week that showed the number of Muslim extremists arrested for terrorism is on the wane.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), said he would resume his controversial hearings on radicalization among Muslim-Americans this year despite critics who say the focus on one ethnic group fuels bigotry and paranoia.

The chairman also said the committee would hold hearings on Islamist money coming into the United States and on “Iran’s intelligence services, proxies such as Hezbollah, and its ally of convenience, al-Qaeda; and the looming Iranian terror threat to the homeland.”

King will also continue his probe of leaks to a Hollywood filmmaker of classified details of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, as well as about operations at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, saying they “could endanger the lives of our intelligence officers and special operators, their families, and the homeland.”

Previous hearings led by King last year on the same topic awakened a storm of controversy, with critics questioning whether Congress should single out a specific minority group as a possible threat to national security.

King held the controversial hearings, bearing the title “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” Opponents such as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said the hearings dredged up the dark days of McCarthyism and only served to “vilify” a segment of the American population.

Also on the committee’s agenda this year is an investigation of “the possible roles that the deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his at-large associates, Daoud Chehazeh and Eyad al-Rababah, might have played in facilitating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”

In addition, the committee plans to review security preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and seek obtaining Purple Heart medals for the military victims of the 2009 terror attacks in Little Rock, Ark., and at Fort Hood, Texas.

The committee has scheduled its first hearing of the year on Wednesday, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will testify on President Obama’s 2013 budget request, expected Monday.

Why Dick Durbin is Right, and Peter King is Wrong

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by loonwatch

Much has been said of the so-called “Muslim Radicalization” Congressional Hearings headed by Rep. Peter King: they were rightfully condemned as “un-American”, “discriminatory”, and “Islamophobic”.  These hearings unjustly singled out the Muslim-American community, an already embattled minority, and amounted to a modern-day witch hunt. King’s hearings will be included in the dark chapter of U.S. history alongside the McCarthy hearings and the internment of Japanese-Americans.

One courageous senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois, decided to take a heroic stand against these hearings, and responded by announcing that he would hold his own committee hearings on the civil rights of Muslim-Americans.  Many have understood this as a “check” or “counter-balance” to King’s hearings, and–considering the timing–it is not difficult to see the connection.  It seems fair to say that this was Sen. Durbin’s attempt to reach out to the Muslim-American community, as if to say: “I’m there for you.”

Naturally, the right-wing went absolutely bonkers when they heard of Durbin’s hearings.  Thegenocidal Pamela Geller, a sweetheart of conservatives, called Durbin a “useful idiot”, and more absurdly, a “dhimmi”.  (To Geller, any non-Muslim who doesn’t revile Islam is by definition a dhimmi.)  But more importantly, Rep. Peter King himself responded to Dick Durbin’s hearings.

King must have thought himself very witty for coming up with the following retort:

Why not have a hearing on everyone’s civil rights? Since they told me I should have my hearings on not just Muslim radicalization but radicalization in all communities, I would say why doesn’t the Senate have a hearing on everyone’s civil rights?

The New York Observer wrote a title entitled “King Turns the Tables on Durbin’s Muslim Hearings”.  But did he?  Even though King was no doubt beside himself for his cunning comeback, the reality is that his response was nothing but 100% Weak Sauce.  Here’s why:

(1) Yes, we–and many others–argued that if radicalization hearings were deemed to be necessary, then they ought to have been held about all communities, not just Muslims.  The reason we were opposed to making them “Muslim-only” was because this would be singling out, targeting, and demonizing one community.  Tell me, Mr. King, which community is singled out, targeted, or demonized by Durbin’s hearings about Muslim civil rights? Durbin’s hearings, unlike King’s anti-Muslim hearings, do not single out, target, or demonize any one community.  Therefore, King’s attempt at striking an equivalence fails miserably.

(2) We’d have absolutely no problem with holding hearings about the civil rights of all communities.  We’re liberals, and we love protecting civil rights.  We wouldn’t get our panties in a bunch like King did over his hearings not being able to single out one community in specific. But…

(3) …Since King already held the congressional hearings about Muslim radicalization–and not about radicalization in all communities–then it makes all the sense in the world to hold the civil rights hearings about Muslims.  This is, after all, a check and counter-balance to the anti-Muslim madness.  How about we hold congressional hearings on civil rights for all communities once King holds his hearings on radicalization of all communities–including the Irish-American community he comes from?

(4) King has tried turning the question around on us, but we can equally turn this around on him: if King had no problem holding Muslim-only hearings about radicalization, then he should have no problem holding Muslim-only hearings on civil rights, right?

King then tried to downplay the issue of Muslim civil rights, citing the FBI database:

King noted that the F.B.I.’s numbers show anti-Semitic attacks outnumbered instances of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. last year by about nine to one, and that attacks on Christians and Muslims were about equal. (Of course, Christians far outnumber Muslims in the U.S., and there are about three times as many Jews as Muslims.)

And yet, during his own hearings Rep. King ignored the FBI’s numbers about terrorism.  According tothe official FBI database, only 6% of terrorist acts on U.S. soil from 1980-2005 were from Islamic extremists.  This was less than from Jewish extremists.  King is able to see that more anti-Semitic hate crimes occur than anti-Muslim hate crimes, but then becomes blind when it comes to the fact that more acts of Jewish terrorism have occurred than Islamic.  Latinos accounted for over 40% of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil: should we hold hearings against the Latino population?  (We shouldn’t give Republicans any ideas, since they would love to target Latinos.  Nothing scarier to a Republican than a gay Latino Muslim.)

Peter King’s attempt to downplay the assault on Muslim civil rights has echoed throughout the right wing blogosphere.  Said King:

I’m not trying to excuse it, I’m just saying in the overall context it’s sometimes more dangerous to be Jewish than Muslim.

These right wing nuts act as if civil rights begins and ends with hate crimes.  During the 1960′s, hate crimes were just one indicator of discrimination.  It is not the end-all be-all.  For example, job discrimination was a major issue for blacks (and continues to be so)…It is also a problem that Muslim-Americans face today: do you know how hard it is to get a job with the name Muhammad Ahmad Abdul Basit?  No wonder Pakistani-Americans often pose as Indians to get hired.

And is it Muslim-Americans or Jewish-Americans who face severe opposition to building houses of worship–not just a few blocks from Ground Zero but anywhere in the United States?  But amazingly, Peter King doesn’t hold this to be a form of prejudice (let me guess, it’s about parking!):

press release from Durbin’s office cited “restrictions on mosque construction,” as an example of rising anti-Muslim sentiment, King denied that opposition to new mosques—including his fierce opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in downtown Manhattan—should be considered an example of prejudice.

Of course, none of this “counts”.  All acts of terrorism by people of other religions “don’t count” and all acts of prejudice against Muslims “don’t count”.  Meanwhile, even a Muslim-American quietly farting in the corner of his room certainly counts (it is after all a biological weapon–and the fact that he did it silently is surely a form of “stealth jihad”).  This is similar to the arguments about the Quran and the Bible: everything violent in the Quran “counts” and everything violent in the Bible “doesn’t count”.

Aside from discrimination in the workplace and with regard to houses of worship, there are even more sinister breeches of Muslim civil rights during the War on of Terror.  The Patriot Act and other un-American legislation have eroded the civil rights of all Americans, but Muslims have been at the forefront.  Here are some civil rights that Muslim-Americans have lost recently: the right not to be the victim of warrantless wiretapping, the right not to be entrapped by law enforcement, the right not to be subject to illegal surveillance,  the right to habeas corpus, the right to be protected from illegal search and seizure, the right to an attorney, the right to face one’s accuser, the right not to be tortured, and the right not to be assassinated at the order of the president.

Most Americans could care less about these affronts to civil liberties so long as it is those Dark-Skinned Foreign-Looking Moozlems with Weird Sounding Names who bear the brunt of these un-American laws.  But that’s why a congressional hearing aimed at protecting the rights of Muslim civil rights would benefit all Americans: once this erosion of civil rights is given precedent (even if it be just against Muslims), it will be institutionalized and could be used against every single one of us.

Spencer’s Radicalized Mosque Claim Gets Debunked

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by loonwatch
Reza Aslan debunks Robert Spencer’s claim

Robert Spencer is still trying to peddle the myth that 80% of American mosques are radicalized. In a heated post on JihadWatch on March 19, Spencer said the following in reply to Reza Aslan’s claim that all of the studies Spencer cited to support the claim that 80% of American mosques are radicalized have been debunked:

In any case, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s 1998 study was not based on his personal opinion, as Aslan claims. Kabbani actually visited 114 mosques in this country before giving testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999 that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.” Has Reza Aslan investigated 114 mosques in the U.S.? Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.

Let’s break this down one by one. Kabbani said in 1999 that extremists “took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US.” How did he come up with this number? He didn’t say in his testimony. After the testimony Kabbani began to feel heat from many who were curious as to how he arrived at this “figure” and that is when he finally decided to offer up some “evidence” for his claim.

An under-fire Kabbani explained in 1999 exactly what he meant when he told the State Department that 80 percent of American mosques had been taken over by extremists. His point, he said, was that a “few extremists” were taking over leadership posts,despite a “majority of moderate Muslims,” thus “influencing 80 percent of the mosques.”

Today, he sticks even closer to his guns and adds embellishing data: Kabbani visited 114 mosques in the United States. “Ninety of them were mostly exposed, and I say exposed, to extreme or radical ideology,” he said.

Kabbani bases his exposure conclusion on speeches, board members and materials published. One telltale sign of an extremist mosque, said Kabbani, was an unhealthy focus on the Palestinian struggle.

Alright – let’s be real here. This is not a “study” as Spencer claims. It’s an insult to actual studies out there to call what Kabbani did a “study,” it doesn’t even reach the basic standard of research, documentation or analysis. He conducted a subjective investigation of American mosques, plain and simple. Mosques he went to and where he found or heard things he didn’t agree with were labeled “extremist.” Just because there was a “focus on the Palestinian struggle” at a mosque doesn’t mean it’s “extremist.” What type of absurd methodology is that? It’s remarkable that Spencer would try to pass this off as a “study.” I know, it’s hard to prove that Muslims in America are bloodthirsty jihadists, but even Spencer should be ashamed of himself for trying to pass off Kabbani’s flawed investigation as a “study” to bolster his claim that 80% of mosques are run by extremists.

The next study that Spencer claims proves that 80% of American mosques are radicalized is from theCenter for Religious Freedom. What is the methodology and scope of this study?

In undertaking this study, we did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.  In order to document Saudi influence, the material for this report was gathered from a selection of more than a dozen mosques and Islamic centers in American cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, and New York. In most cases, these sources are the most prominent and well-established mosques in their areas. They have libraries and publication racks for mosque-goers. Some have full-or part-time schools and, as the 9/11 Commission Report observed, such “Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools are often the only Islamic schools.”

From their own words, the Center for Religious Freedom says that it “did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.” The study itself was designed “to document Saudi influence.” They went to fifteen mosques to complete this “study.” Fifteen mosques! According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, there are at least 1,600 mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. This, too, is not much of a study.

Further eroding Spencer’s point, this study does not even claim that 80% or even a high percentage of American mosques are radicalized in any way. Let me repeat that – the study makes NO claim that 80% or some other percent of American mosques are radicalized. It simply does not say what Spencer claims it says. Spencer is making it up. He is lying. But LoonWatchers shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Spencer’s deception and lack of intellectual integrity in this instance is blatant, he not only cites the Center’s “study” as proof of the 80%-percent-of-mosques-are-extremists-conspiracy-theory, but he also fails to mention that the only semblance of what he claims in the study is a regurgitation of Kabbani’s (false and discredited) assertion,

Sheikh Kabbani, perhaps the U.S.’s leading moderate Muslim leader, says that a substantial percentage of American mosques have Wahhabi-funded Imams

Isn’t this interesting? What sort of credible “study” perfunctorily sites the non-evidentiary based assertions of a lone individual without questioning his methodology? The language in the above sentence is also cause for alarm, anytime a claim such as “the U.S.’s leading moderate Muslim leader” is made we should view it not only with caution but skepticism. This sort of heavily biased and subjective language is employed now by Right-Wingers and Republicans to describe “Zuhdi Jasser” the Islamophobes favorite Muslim.

Spencer’s last piece of evidence to back up his bogus claim comes from the Mapping Sharia Project led by the loony racist anti-Muslim lawyer David Yerushalmi, David Gaubatz and conspiracy theoristFrank Gaffney. The only thing I could find on this “study” was a Jihad Watch link reporting the findings of the Mapping Sharia Project. The Jihad Watch article reports that “An undercover survey of more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools in America has exposed widespread radicalism, including the alarming finding that 3 in 4 Islamic centers are hotbeds of anti-Western extremism…”

Spencer relying on “undercover survey’s” by radical Islamophobes with pseudo-racist beliefs? Just par for the course.

Firstly, there is no web page allowing us access to examine the methodology employed by this study. When I went to the link to the Mapping Sharia Project, I was taken to the web site for David Yerushalmi’s organization, SANE (Society for American National Existence). To gain access, I had to become a member. I did not want to join this loony web site’s membership list, as I am spammed enough as it is. So Spencer’s third study does not even exist, at least out in the public. Even the link he places for the Mapping Sharia Project just takes you to another JihadWatch web page reporting the findings of the study. Guess we’ll just have to take Yerushalmi, Gaubatz, Gaffney and Spencer’s word for it that 80%… err, three out of four American mosques are radicalized.

Actually, we won’t. Spencer tried his best it seems to pass off these “studies” as evidence to support Rep. Peter King’s claim that 80% of American mosques are radicalized. None of these “studies” does that.

Kabbani’s “study” is based simply on his own opinions of the mosques and their leadership, not any objective metric gauging radicalism. If he did not agree with the viewpoints of the mosque, then he deemed them radical. That’s not a study. Spencer, someone who went to graduate school, should know better than that.

The Center for Religious Freedom study says itself that it “did not attempt a general survey of American mosques.” So how does Spencer cite this study as evidence that 80% of American mosques are radicalized? Because he’s not interested in the truth – he just needs something to cite to so he can bamboozle those who won’t actually check his sources. Sorry, Robert, but we did. And this so-called “study” does not even say what you claim it does.

The final piece of evidence Spencer clings to is the Mapping Sharia Project’s “study,” which apparently does not exist in the public domain. But considering its authors – David Yerushalmi, David Gaubatz and Frank Gaffney – I would venture to say that this “study” will not only not be very academic but thoroughly bigoted and prejudiced. Just consider some of the proposals Yerushalmi and his friends at (in)SANE have come up with:

WHEREAS Islam requires all Muslims to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic with a political system based upon Shari’a.

Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the US Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People.

HEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED THAT: It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Shari’a.

The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation.

If these “studies” and individuals are the evidence that Spencer claims back up the myth that 80% of American mosques are radicalized, then Spencer has no evidence. For a great source on the history of this myth, see Media Matters’ Zombie Lie: Right Still Clinging To Decade-Old Fabrication About Radicalized Mosques.

Rep. Keith Ellison’s Historic Testimony during House Hearings

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Just as our children today read in their history books about the internment of Japanese-Americans and about the McCarthy Hearings, a time will come (not too far in the future hopefully) when our children’s children will read about how there was a generation of Americans who stood by idly as an elected member of public office–a United States congressman no less–held anti-Muslim hearings.

That future generation will marvel at our complacency.  But, we will not just be accused of apathy, but of wholesale bigotry.  And many of us will be disgraced and shamed–just like those police officers captured in 1960′s footage hosing down black Americans will forever live in infamy for what they did.  Mostly those who will be remembered will be the villains–Peter King, Glenn Beck, maybe Barack Obama (the president who did nothing to stop it–the guy who made it seem like it’s a smear to be called a Muslim)…

But there will be one good guy we’ll read about, and one testimony that we’ll remember.  It will be one of those defining moments in history. His testimony is hardly eloquent…but Ellison has captured the moment beautifully. He has shed a tear for us all, for America’s lost soul. Here it is:

Peter King’s “Muslim Hearings” are Political Theater to Target Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Loonwatch was live blogging the controversial (anti)-Muslim Hearings being chaired by bigoted ex-IRA terrorist supporter Peter King. It was a circus. It devolved along partisan lines with Republicans predictably falling behind the rhetoric and narrative of Peter King. Democratic Congressmen/women issued strong rebukes: Rep. Sheila J. Lee, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sanchez, and others delivered the message home that these Hearings were nothing more than political theater meant to castigate and intimidate a minority group and most importantly they were bereft of facts and therefore unbeneficial.

The leading witnesses for King were non-experts, Zuhdi Jasser, AbdiRizak Bihi and Melvin Bledsoe, all of these individuals were bereft of any credentials or expertise in the field of radicalization, terrorism or extremism. Zuhdi Jasser is considered an apologist for Neo-Cons and is viewed with suspicion amongst American Muslims for his close association with Islamophobes and war-mongerers. AbdiRizak was incomprehensible at times and much of what he and Bledsoe said were anecdotal and not factual evidence.

King began the hearings with what can only be classified as a bigoted comment, he said, “Moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community.” He said this to set up a straw man argument for what would become a recurring attack on CAIR, almost making it into a hearing about CAIR.

After getting its name wrong, calling it the “Committee of American Islamic Relations,” he and other Congressmen labeled CAIR a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood group. This is the usual trope brought forth by Right-wingers and anti-Muslims such as Robert Spencer and co., the best response came from Sheriff Lee Baca (one of the anti-Loons of 2010) when he said, ‘If CAIR is this terrorist group or has terrorist links then why hasn’t the FBI prosecuted them? Why haven’t they charged them? They wouldn’t be around if they were terrorist or terrorist sympathizers.’

Some highlights included:

Keith Ellison made three important points: 1.) Security is important to all American Muslims, 2.) Hearings threaten our security and 3.) We need increased engagement with Muslims.

Ellison also got quite emotional while mentioning the story of a Muslim first responder who died saving people but was the victim of a smear campaign by Islamophobes who attempted to link him to the 9/11 attacks.

Andre Carson brought up an excellent point about the fact that cooperation between law enforcement and communities such as the American Muslim community is endangered by the backdoor actions and methodologies of  organizations such as the FBI when they send agent provocateurs into Muslim mosques. Such actions cause distrust and engender fear that Muslims’ civil rights and liberties are being violated. One really only has to look at the example in California of the criminal Craig Montielh who was later arrested and confessed that he was sent by the FBI on a fishing expedition to entrap Muslims.

There were also other quite interesting WTF moments: Such as when Peter King mentioned Kim Kardashian and CAIR in the same sentence. Or when non-expert witness Melvin Bledsoe told Rep. Al Green “you don’t know what these hearings are about.” There was also the earlier moment when Peter King denied making the comment that “there are too many mosques in America.” A blatant falsity.

We will have more in depth coverage but it is safe to say that American Muslims are in for a rocky Islamophobic time with these hearings.

Japanese-Americans Condemn Anti-Muslim House Hearings as “Sinister”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by loonwatch

Although most Americans have remained pathetically silent about the un-American witch hunt against Muslims, Japanese-Americans stand in solidarity with Muslims.  The Washington Postreports:

Japanese Americans: House hearings on radical Islam ‘sinister’

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

During the chaotic days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Basim Elkarra was passing by an Islamic school in Sacramento when he did a double-take: The windows were covered with thousands of origami cranes – peace symbols that had been created and donated by Japanese Americans.

Amid the anger and suspicions being aimed at Muslims at that time, the show of support “was a powerful symbol that no one will ever forget,” said Elkarra, a Muslim American community leader in California.

It was also the beginning of a bond between the two groups that has intensified as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) prepares to launch a series of controversial hearings Thursday on radical Islam in the United States.

Spurred by memories of the World War II-era roundup and internment of 110,000 of their own people, Japanese Americans – especially those on the West Coast – have been among the most vocal and passionate supporters of embattled Muslims. They’ve rallied public support against hate crimes at mosques, signed on to legal briefs opposing the government’s indefinite detention of Muslims, organized cross-cultural trips to the Manzanar internment camp memorial near the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and held “Bridging Communities” workshops in Islamic schools and on college campuses.

Last week, Rep. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), who as a child spent several wartime years living behind barbed wire at Camp Amache in southeastern Colorado, denounced King’s hearings as “something similarly sinister.”

“Rep. King’s intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia,” Honda wrote in an op-ed published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

King has defended the hearings by arguing that the Muslim American community has not always been cooperative with the FBI and other law enforcement authorities in countering the growth of radical Islam. And he rejects accusations that he is demonizing Muslims and ignoring threats from other extremists.

In an interview Sunday on CNN, King noted that U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. “is not saying he’s staying awake at night because of what’s coming from antiabortion demonstrators or coming from environmental extremists or from neo-Nazis. It’s the radicalization right now in the Muslim community.”

But Honda compared King’s position not only to the wartime roundup of the Japanese, but also to the anti-Communist hearings staged by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to stay quiet and not say something,” Honda said in an interview this week. “We have to show people that as Americans, we’re not going to put up with this kind of nonsense.”

Although the youngest who were interned are in their late 60s, Japanese Americans remember what it means to be targeted during wartime because of their nationality.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that all ethnic Japanese along the Pacific Coast be sent to one of 10 isolated internment camps in seven states. Of those imprisoned, 62 percent were second- or third-generation Japanese Americans born in the United States. Most lost their property to the government.

In 1988, Congress approved legislation that apologized and distributed $1.6 billion in reparations, blaming the roundup on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

It was the memory of the camps that led the Japanese to reach out to their Muslim counterparts, said Kathy Masaoka, a high school teacher who co-chairs the Los Angeles chapter of Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress.

“It dawned on us that this is really something that could escalate among Muslims, the same things our parents faced,” she said. “They were being scapegoated.”

What followed was a candlelight vigil in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo and the “Bridging Communities” program, aimed at educating Muslim and Japanese high school students on diversity. Last year, 40 students participated in five seminars, sharing stories of challenges they face related to race, religion and ethnicity.

“They see clearly that they have similar experiences,” said Affad Shaikh, civil rights manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Even though the target group of the discrimination is different, the purpose of that harassment is the same.”

In Sacramento, CAIR and the Japanese American Citizens League sponsor an annual 350-mile bus trip to the Manzanar internment camp. More than 10,000 Japanese were interned there, an ordeal recounted in “Farewell to Manzanar,” the well-known 1983 memoir by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston.

“When we met with the former internees, they told us how they coped,” said Elkarra, president of CAIR’s Sacramento Valley chapter. “The challenges they faced were a lot more difficult than anything we faced.”

Although the alliance between the two groups is rooted on the West Coast, it has also been on display in Washington, where the Japanese American Citizens League is headquartered. The league has worked with Arab American groups about racial profiling, meeting with the Department of Justice to urge officials not to detain people on the basis of race or religion, said Floyd Mori, the league’s national executive director.

As King’s congressional hearings have drawn near, Japanese American groups have condemned him. Last week, Mori co-authored a commentary with Deepa Iyer, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, that said the hearings “will do nothing but perpetuate an atmosphere of alienation, suspicion and fear.”

Mori plans to send a staff member to the hearing. Honda, too, will be monitoring it, although he has not asked to testify and has not spoken with King about his concerns.

“We just feel very strongly that it does kind of point back to the time when just because we were of Japanese ancestry, people looked upon us with hate and terror,” Mori said. “This kind of hearing simply flames that kind of fire today.”

Daily Show Takes on Peter King’s Terrorist Connections

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Jon Stewart skewers Peter Kings so called radicalization hearings for the farce that it is.