There is no question we should be investigating the radicalization of American Muslims. But by “we” I mean the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local law enforcement – not Peter King.
If you ask law enforcement officials why there hasn’t been a second al Qaeda attack since 9-11, they invariably tell you it is because the U.S. – unlike Europe and parts of Asia – does not have pools of highly radicalized Muslims. America assimilates immigrants well.
Peter King, however, suggests that there is something fishy about Islam in America. In an interview with Sean Hannity back in 2004 and again last month, King said 80 to 85% of mosques are run by Islamic fundamentalists.
There is no basis for this claim. Some guy said it on TV in 1999. Meanwhile, studies show exactly the opposite to be true: mosques in America are a source for integration, moderation and civic participation.
So why is Peter King doing this? I think it’s to scratch an itch of fear, paranoia and xenophobia. It scores political points in the short run.
But in the long run, I think King and his supporters will pay a political price. Americans of different stripes identify with the underdog.
And we come to regret show trials.