Friday, September 21, 2007

New York Congressman says 'too many mosques' in the US

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Muslims and other people of conscience to ask Republican leaders to repudiate remarks by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) ) in which he said "we have too many mosques in this country."

CAIR also asked that Americans of all faiths contact Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and urge him to drop King and commentator Daniel Pipes as campaign advisors because of their extremist and Islamophobic views and comments.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has already condemned Rep. King's statements, calling them "deplorable."

CAIR said both King and Pipes have a long history of rhetorical hostility to the American Muslim community and to the protection of civil liberties.

In a recent interview, Rep. King said: "Unfortunately, we have too many mosques in this country. There are too many people who are sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully. We should be finding out how we can infiltrate. . .I think there's been a lack of full cooperation from too many people in the Muslim community. And it's a real threat here in this country."

King, who is on Giuliani's Homeland Security Advisory Board, has in the past claimed that the vast majority of mosques in his state and nationwide are being run by "radicals" and called for racial profiling of Muslims in airports. He said: "I think it is time to end political correctness. To me, if a person is of Middle Eastern descent it is legitimate for the screener to ask more questions."

In 2004, King said that "85 percent" of American Muslim community leaders are "an enemy living amongst us" and that "no (American) Muslims" cooperate in the war on terror. He made these claims despite the fact that American Muslims have consistently condemned terrorism and work to protect national security.

In a 2003 interview with The Minaret magazine, FBI Director Robert Mueller said: "I would like to thank the Muslim Americans for their support on the war against terrorism and working with the FBI around the country as well as state and local law enforcement. . ."

(Note: King has taken political donations from members of a New York mosque he claims is a hotbed of radicalism. An article in Newsday stated: "Rep. Peter King is attempting to link his political opponent to men he calls 'radical' Muslim leaders on Long Island, but federal records show the congressman accepted thousands of dollars last year in campaign contributions from some of the same donors.")

Daniel Pipes has long been regarded by Muslims and other observers as one of America's leading Islamophobes. In 2001, Pipes claimed the "presence" and "enfranchisement" of American Muslims present "true dangers to American Jews." Pipes recently renewed a call to "raze" Palestinian villages from which anti-Israeli attacks are launched.

In 2004, Pipes said he supported the widely-repudiated internment of Japanese-Americans. He wrote: "Yes, I do support the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II." He has also stated that the views of far-right French racist Jean-Marie Le Pen "represent an important outlook in the national debate over immigration and Islam."

Like King, Pipes supports racial and religious profiling of Muslims and Arabs.

"We call on Republican leaders and other people of conscience to repudiate Representative King's bigoted remarks and to support the civil and religious rights of all Americans," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "We also urge Rudy Giuliani to send a clear message that he will not tolerate Islamophobia or other types of fear-mongering by dropping Peter King and Daniel Pipes from his campaign."

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad applauded the DNC statement repudiating King's remarks. "The type of Islamophobic rhetoric used by King and Pipes promotes an atmosphere in which ordinary American Muslims face bias or even violent attacks," said Awad.

Awad noted that just this week, CAIR called on the FBI to investigate an attack on a Muslim businesswoman in King's own district as a hate crime. The Muslim owner of a nail and facial salon was beaten Saturday in what local police are calling a bias attack. Anti-Muslim slurs were scrawled on mirrors in the salon.

No comments: