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Anti-Muslim hearing draws backlash
Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:31PM
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A controversial hearing on radicalization in US Muslim communities has drawn a backlash from Muslims, rights groups and even members of Congress.


Republican Representative Peter King from New York went ahead with his initiative to hold the controversial hearing on Thursday, despite multiple calls to cancel the event.

This is while according to FBI files, which can be accessed through fbi.gov, over the past 25 years, Muslim Americans account for merely six percent of all terrorism in America, Jews seven percent and Latinos 41 percent.

"Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans," Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, said during the hearing on Thursday as he wiped off his tears. "His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow Americans."

According to Alejandro Beutel from the Muslim Political Committee, Ellison's impassioned remarks reflect the deeper emotions running throughout the Muslim community in the United States.

He told Press TV in Washington that Ellison's loss of composure was a reminder of feelings that many Muslim Americans have with respect to their position here in America after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“We are loyal citizens to this nation and we are trying to do everything we can to keep it safe and secure. In many cases, even if we do the right thing and lay our lives down on the line for the nation, we still get stigmatized,” Beutel noted.

The analyst pointed out that Thursday's hearing had been “politically-motivated” as it avoided serious issues and did not come with a solution.

“Because a lot of communities rely on a number of different Muslim organizations as resources, it [the congressional hearing] will only lead to increase stigmatization and a sense of alienation from Muslim community's members,” Beutel argued.

At the hearing, Congressmen and women questioned the legitimacy of the Congressional inquiry. During one Congresswoman's speech, King interrupted her repeatedly and attempted to cut her off.

King claimed the hearing was the first of many hearings focusing on the “radicalization” of the American Muslim community, and it sought to look at infiltration and recruitment by radicals.

The Republican made headlines by calling for the hearing, which many have described as an instance of intolerance, stereotyping or even racism.

Many civil rights groups and Democrats, however, are skeptical. Rep. Jackie Speier of San Mateo, a committee member, issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing the hearing as an "ideologically motivated charade."

"Hearings driven by intolerance inflame anti-American sentiment," she said. "Our nation deserves better," the Kansas City Star quoted the statement as reading.

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