In “Cast a Wider Net: The Islamic radicalization hearings need to hear from witnesses beyond cops and Muslims” in National Review, June 16, Andrew C. McCarthy makes some pointed and much-needed criticisms of Peter King’s hearings:
Peter King, the New York Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has been a good friend to those of us who work to protect American national security. In launching an investigation into the ideology that fuels the Islamist threat against the United States, he has had the courage to go where Congress has been too intimidated to go before. Still, with the second round of his committee’s hearings on “radicalization” having been completed, it is necessary to question his approach.
The committee has kept on the sidelines the peerless analysts Steven Emerson and Robert Spencer, who were sounding the alarm before most people in this country knew there was an Islamist threat “” very much including most people in our government. King holds the work of these experts in high regard. Yet, he has decided the public’s understanding is better served by calling as his main witnesses (a) Muslims, who can give a firsthand account of what goes on in their communities, and (b) law-enforcement officials, current and former, who”ve designed and carried out what passes for the counterterrorism strategy followed by police agencies throughout the country “” basically, terrorism investigations and Muslim outreach.
There are serious problems with this approach. Hearing from Muslims is obviously important, but to limit the committee to their input on what’s happening inside the Islamic community is to fall for the fallacy that you have to be a member of the group to grasp and explain the group’s dynamics. If that were true, why would anyone care what King’s analysis is? Congress is not a Muslim body, so why would its insights be any more valuable than those of experts like Emerson and Spencer?
Moreover, while the Muslim community in the United States includes many patriotic Americans, it also includes Islamists who seek to undermine our country. The latter adhere to taqqiya, a principle that endorses misrepresentation when necessary to advance the Islamist cause. This principle’s operation is not mitigated by putting these people under oath at hearings, because their fidelity is to sharia, not American law “” if they think it will help to lie, they will lie.
Recall the testimony of King’s very first witness back in March, CAIR”s favorite congressman, Keith Ellison (at least, I think that’s the name he’s going by these days “” he’s used several in his checkered past, well documented by Powerline’s Scott Johnson). As Matt Shaffer recounted on the Corner, Ellison “” a hard-Left Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives “” gave the committee a weepy account of American bigotry against a Muslim American who died heroically trying to save lives on 9/11. Not surprisingly, Ellison’s story was riddled with falsehoods. To be sure, there is value in watching some of these characters dodge, dissemble, and demagogue. But they are a big part of the challenge we face, so it’s foolish to make them our window into the Muslim community….
Indeed. Read it all.