—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (March 9, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press release today denouncing the planned congressional inquiry into American Muslims by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
“On Thursday, March 10, the Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing entitled ‘The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response’. Mr. King claims that the American Muslim community is not cooperating with law enforcement agencies in countering radicalization in American Muslim youth, and has called for hearings to examine this issue. On the contrary, a recent study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found that the American Muslim community has been the single largest source of tips that have brought terror suspects to the attention of authorities.
These hearings are nothing but a political stunt by Rep. King, who is well known for his flagrant anti-Muslim sentiments. He has declared, quite erroneously, that radical Muslims control 80% of mosques in America—an absurd accusation that contradicts all credible studies on American Muslim attitudes on radicalization. The congressional inquiry is based on such unfounded claims.
The proposed hearings essentially cast doubt on an entire community by virtue of its faith—clearly encroaching on the values of religious freedom that are protected by the Constitution. Our country stands for justice, equality and tolerance, none of which are upheld by Rep. King’s hearings.
Rep. King wants us to believe that these hearings will create a better America, but we believe that baseless accusations and biased inquiries will only serve to arouse suspicion of law-abiding citizens, provide fuel for Islamophobes and put the American Muslim community in serious danger.
Rep. King must stop capitalizing on the rise of Islamophobia and xenophobia fueling the anti-Islamic rhetoric that is being spewed across the country and within the GOP. Four elected GOP officials participate in a bigoted rally against Muslims in Orange County, and another official embarks on a McCarthy-like hunt that will only further divide our nation.
ICNA believes the GOP has remained silent for far too long; the party must address the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment amongst its members. Does the GOP support the rise of Islamophobia across the United States? Will the party continue to endorse those who divide the American community along religious lines? Seven million American Muslims deserve more than to be treated as guilty until proven innocent.”
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the promotion of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.