Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Statement of CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad on Peter King Hearing

Washington, DC, March 9, 2011

Since Representative Peter King announced tomorrow's planned hearing on American Muslims, more than 250 organizations have written to him expressing concerns about his statements and allegations.

Hundreds of leaders from across the nation, including more than 80 interfaith representatives from King's home of Long Island, New York, have expressed similar concerns.

Representative King's two main allegations -- that American Muslims do not cooperate with law enforcement and that 80 to 85 percent of their leadership are "extremists" -- are demonstrably false.

Top law enforcement officials such as FBI Director Robert Mueller and Sheriff Lee Baca, commander of the nation's largest sheriff's department and a board member of the National Sheriff's Association, say Muslims support and cooperate with law enforcement.

Just this week, a former FBI counterterrorism director rejected the allegation of Muslim non-cooperation.

Michael Rolince, who headed the Counterterrorism Division in the FBI's Washington field office between 2002 and 2005, said: "I will tell you in no uncertain terms that the community has on multiple occasions come forward and assisted law enforcement.”

Academic research also refutes Congressman King's claims.

Earlier this year, Duke University found that tips from the American Muslim community provided information “that led to a terrorist plot being thwarted in 48 of 120 cases involving Muslim Americans.” Duke University also found that, “[M]any mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering violent extremism.”

There is no denying that people of evil intent covet the opportunity to recruit Americans, including those of the Islamic faith, and to pull them away from the straight path of Islam to the deviated path of violent extremism.

CAIR and the mainstream Muslim community are natural enemies of those who promote violent extremism.

There is also no denying that – except for a tiny minority -- violent extremists have not found fertile ground in America. Many individuals and institutions, including law enforcement, homeland security personnel, and the leaders and members of the American Muslim community, deserve a share of the credit for this.

CAIR has always maintained that it is both a civic and religious duty to immediately report criminal activity to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Equally, like any civil liberties organization, we advise our community to know their constitutional rights.

Our community has reasonable concerns with some law enforcement activities and policies.

These concerns include overly-broad surveillance of Muslims and their institutions based solely on religion, concerns about FBI and other agencies pursuing lines of questioning related to First Amendment protected activities, concern about the use of Muslim-bashers as law enforcement trainers, and concerns about American Muslims abroad facing denial of due process and pressure to become informants.

Tomorrow, Congressman King will have the spotlight. We sincerely hope that he and his witnesses abandon false allegations, personal agendas and irresponsible rhetoric in favor of a sober and objective hearing.

Sadly, a disturbing number of religious, ethnic and racial minorities – including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Jewish Americans, Catholics, Mormons, and many others -- have been singled out for discrimination at various times in our history. American Muslims would be doing a disservice to the sacrifices of minorities before us if we do not stand up for ourselves now.

We ask our fellow Americans not to succumb to Rep. King’s fear-mongering. We ask our fellow Americans to reject his false and unsubstantiated allegations. And we thank the many political and religious leaders who have spoken against King’s divisive hearing.

America was not built for any one religion, race or ethnicity. It was built on a set of principles. One of those principles is respect for pluralism. We hope Congressman King will remember that and work to unite, not divide our nation.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

CAIR: Coalition to Challenge ‘Misinformation’ in King Hearings

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/7/11) –- On Wednesday, March 9, a coalition of Muslim, interfaith and civil rights groups will hold a news conference in Washington, D.C., to challenge misinformation that may be repeated in the first of a series of hearings on Muslim “radicalization” to be held Thursday by Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

WHAT: Groups to Challenge ‘Misinformation’ in King Hearings
WHEN: Wednesday, March 9, 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Lisagor Room, National Press Club, 13th Floor, National Press Building, 529 14th Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:

At the news conference, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will challenge Rep. King to offer facts to back up his false claims that "85 percent" of mosques in his state and nationwide are run by "radicals” and that law enforcement officials receive little cooperation from American Muslim leaders.

CAIR will also provide real-time Twitter commentary on Thursday’s hearing at @CAIRNational. Tune in to the conversation at #KingHearings. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern) on March 10.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

King's attack on U.S. Muslims: Head of CAIR says terrorism hearings will stoke fears

Published in New York Daily News, 2/28/2011
By Nihad Awad

Long Island Rep. Peter King's announcement that he will hold hearings on the alleged "radicalization" of American Muslims has sent a shudder through our community.

But understand: This response is not because of opposition to the concept of holding hearings on growing political and religious extremism of all stripes. We would support such hearings, provided they were balanced and fair.

We would support such hearings, if they were broadened to also examine what led someone to plant an IED on the parade route of this year's Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash., and what caused U.S. hate groups to top 1,000 for the first time, according to Southern Poverty Law Center - then they would gain our support.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member on the committee King chairs, asked him to expand the hearings to include "a broad-based examination of domestic extremist groups regardless of their ideological underpinnings." King refused.

In fact, our community's response to King's planned hearings is reasonable given his record of irresponsible and factually inaccurate remarks regarding America's Muslims.

King justifies his call for hearings with two often-repeated talking points: 1) that law enforcement officials tell him they received little or no cooperation from "Muslim leaders and imams," and 2) that "85%" of mosques in his state and nationwide are run by "radicals" who constitute "an enemy living amongst us."

Expert testimony and actual research paint a different picture.

In April 2008, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee: "I reaffirm the fact that 99.9% of Muslim-Americans ... are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this room, and that many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States."

Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser at the nonpartisan RAND Corp., finds "an American [Muslim] population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence."

A December 2010 Congressional Research Service report cites numerous examples of partnership between federal authorities and American Muslim communities.

Quintan Wiktorowicz, the new senior director for global engagement at the White House National Security Council, shattered stereotypes when his research found that very religious Muslims were in fact the most resistant to radicalization.

These are sources anyone can verify. On the other hand, King's "85%" claim is based solely on a comment made by one person speaking at a 1999 State Department forum. That individual never produced any evidence to back up his bizarre claim.

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