Southern Religion

Richard Land’s embrace of Peter King’s Muslim McCarthyism

The Souther Baptist Convention’s Richard Land struck an “innocent until proven guilty” pose in defense of Republican Rep. Peter King’s hearings on the “radicalization” of Muslims in the United States.

The Christian Post reported:

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, praised the upcoming meetings for allowing Muslim leaders to separate themselves from Islamic terrorists and establish their loyalty to the United States.

“This is a great opportunity for the Muslim community to come forward and denounce terrorism,” Land told The Christian Post on Monday.

The long-time religious freedom expert said he would advise Muslim leaders to reject the acts of American terrorists – such as that of Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square – and to aid authorities to stop the recruitment of American Muslims by terrorist groups.

“If they (Muslims) don’t do that and attack the questioning, they’re exacerbating the problem,” Land said.

Land and King use the term “Muslim community” in the same McCarthyite way, as William Saletan explains:

Through this phrase—the “Muslim community”—King has casually substituted unnamed Muslim “leaders” for Muslim citizens as representatives of American Islam. Yesterday on MSNBC, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post told King, “You have alleged that the Muslim American community has not been forthcoming in helping law enforcement officials deal with radicalization.” King replied: “I talk to cops and counterterrorism people on the ground all the time, and they get virtually no cooperation.” Robinson accused King of assuming “that the Muslim American community, a religious minority in this country, is somehow abetting and aiding and giving shelter to this process of radicalization, when that is clearly not the truth.” King shot back: “It is the truth.”

No it isn’t the truth.

A study released in February by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (a combined effort by Duke University, the University of North Carolina and the Research Triangle Institute) found that:

  1. The “number of Muslim-Americans engaged in terrorist acts” is declining. It fell “from 18 in 2009 to 10 in 2010.”
  2. When Muslim-American terrorist suspects were brought to the attention of U.S. officials, “the largest single source of initial information (48 of 120 cases) involved tips from the Muslim-American community.”

King has responded to the study with claims that off-the-record sources report the opposite. Thus neither the existence of King’s sources, nor if they exist their credibility, can be examined.

Too convenient, and so not persuasive.

As a result the onus is still on King, and therefore on Land, to demonstrate that there are in fact truly compelling reasons for the hearings, which begin Thursday.

March 9, 2011 - Posted by | Politics, Uncategorized | ,

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