NY Congressman calls U.S. Mosque Leaders ‘An Enemy Amongst Us’
CAIR today called on President Bush and other political and religious leaders to repudiate remarks by Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) claiming that the vast majority of American Muslim community leaders are “an enemy living amongst us” and that “no (American) Muslims” cooperate in the war on terror. (King serves on the Select Committee on Homeland Security and the International Relations Committee.)
King made that claim February 9th on Sean Hannity’s nationally-syndicated radio program. While promoting his new novel “Veil of Tears,” King complained that “no (American) Muslims are cooperating” with law enforcement officials to combat terrorism. He added: “I would say, you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. Those who are in control. The average Muslim, no, they are loyal, but they don’t work, they don’t come forward, they don’t tell the police [inaudible].”
(King’s novel, which he described as “half truth and half fiction,” deals with future terrorist attacks by “Muslim extremists” in Nassau County, N.Y. During his segment on Hannity’s program, King was particularly critical of an unnamed mosque in Westbury, N.Y., which he accused of failing to adequately condemn terrorism.)
When questioned by Hannity whether he was really claiming that 85 percent of mosques in America are “ruled by the extremists,” King said: “Yes. And I can get you the documentation on that from experts in the field. Talk to a Steve Emerson, talk to a (Daniel) Pipes, talk to any of those. They will tell you. It’s a real issue”¦I’ll stand by that number of 85 percent. This is an enemy living amongst us.”
(Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes are regarded by many Muslims as America’s leading Islamophobes. Pipes has claimed that up to 15 percent of all Muslims are “potential killers” and that the enfranchisement of American Muslims presents “true dangers” to the United States.
King also said that while most American Muslims are loyal to this country: “They won’t turn in their own. They won’t tell what’s going on in the mosques. They won’t come forward and cooperate with the police.”
“It is unconscionable that an elected official would defame America’s Islamic leaders and ordinary Muslims, including those in his own district, just to sell a few more books for personal gain,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “President Bush and other political and religious leaders should repudiate these baseless smears and reject the growing exploitation of legitimate fears of terrorism to marginalize an entire community.”
Awad said that since being among the first to condemn the 9-11 terror attacks, American Muslim leaders have frequently worked with law enforcement officials on the national, state and local levels. He also invited King to meet with Islamic leaders to learn more about Muslims in America and their contributions to society.