Muslim Radicalization Hearings in Congress
Tomorrow morning the House Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims. This hearing, spearheaded by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), is concerning for the Reform Movement and should be to all Americans.
Congress has a responsibility to ensure our nation's safety and well being, and its investigative and oversight powers are vital to fulfilling that role. And we acknowledge that there are, indeed, a small number of radical Muslims in America. Yet this hearing singles out one religious community for investigation, rather than exploring the dangers of radicalism wherever it may be found.
This hearing also overlooks evidence of the important role the Muslim community continues to play in preventing terrorism. A recent Duke University study found that for nearly a decade, the largest single source of initial information that brought terror suspects to the attention of the U.S. government was tips from the Muslim-American community.
Since the hearing was announced in December, the Reform Movement has worked to ensure that members of Congress and all Americans understand the danger of singling out a specific religious group for investigation. Here is just a sampling of what we have been up to:
- We have joined with other national organizations to call on Rep. King to widen the scope of the hearings beyond the Muslim community.
- We are leaders in the "Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values" campaign to combat Islamophobia. This campaign will be formally unveiled after the hearing tomorrow and included numerous religious groups including the National Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Islamic Society of North America.
- We have worked with Reform Rabbis, lay leaders, and congregants to encourage dialogue with the Muslim community and oppose this hearing. Check out this piece in the Huffington Post by Rabbi Mark Gruber, former co-chair of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State.
Tomorrow, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the RAC, will be at the hearings and speak at a press conference with other faith leaders in the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign. Check back for updates as the hearing begins.