Cross-posted from Bold Faith Type
One of the problems with Congressman King's hearings was the troubling precedent they set for what are seen as legitimate and effective ways of investigating national security threats. An elected official providing a platform for radical witnesses and out-of-the-mainstream views in an official context allows for the mainstreaming of those radical views.
That's exactly what's happening in New York this month, as State Senators led by Republican Greg Ball plan to hold their own biased and counterproductive hearing, complete with radical anti-Islam activists and Congressman King himself. Jillian Rayfield of TPM has the witness list:
Nonie Darwish, for one, is the director of Former Muslims United, and has argued that Islam "will destroy itself because it's not a true religion." She also once said that "a mosque is not just a place for worship. It's a place where war is started, where commandments to do jihad start, where incitements against non-Muslims occur. It's a place where ammunition was stored."
Then there's Frank Gaffney, who has been fearmongering about sharia law for years, becoming the right's resident "expert" on the topic. He was even brought in to testify in a lawsuit against a proposed mosque project in Tennessee. Gaffney has argued that 80% of all mosques in the United States (a number apparently based on zero substantive research) are run by radical imams who want to impose sharia law on the country, as part of their mission to "destroy western civilization from within."
Ball has also tapped Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to testify. King held similarly-themed hearings in Washington last month that were widely criticized for their narrow focus on Muslim "extremism". King maintained that he "will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States."
The King hearings were met by opposition from religious and civil rights leaders, national security experts, other Members of Congress, and local constituents. Hopefully political leaders in New York looking to recreate King's flawed spectacle will take into account the diverse voices who spoke out to call for a different approach that reflects American values and actually helps keep us safe.