Republican Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Peter King (NY-03) is all set to hold hearings, which he has entitled "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." Read more here. Peter King, of the Republican Party (which claims to hold that government is too intrusive), plans to scrutinize the communities of fellow citizens to determine the extent to which they are "radicalized."
American citizens, does that make you feel uncomfortable at all?
Have a look at this report from Orange County, California (home of the original Disneyland)...
Makes ya proud, don't it? This hits home for me, of course. But this country has always carried with it a nasty nativist sentiment that manifests itself in ugly ways. It's nothing new.
The problem comes when this kind of bigotry is legitimized by public officials, as with the councilwoman in the video. That's why I find Representative King's hearings to be not only insulting, but dangerous.
Here's what Japanese-American lawmaker Mike Honda wrote this week in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed:
Rep(resentative) King's intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia. This should be deeply troubling to Americans of all races and religions. An investigation specifically targeting a single religion implies, erroneously, a dangerous disloyalty, with one broad sweep of the discriminatory brush.(It's worth noting that Mike Honda spent his early childhood in a Japanese internment camp in the 40s).
We're not talking about some backwater cult here, for God's sake. When government identifies and investigates communities based on their Constitutionally-protected religious practices, an important safeguard is violated. As a society, we have set foot on a path toward pogrom.