Congressman Peter King (R-NY) told Politico Tuesday that in his upcoming hearings on radicalization among American Muslims, he was "not planning to call as witnesses such Muslim community critics as the Investigative Project on Terrorism's Steve Emerson and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer, who have large followings among conservatives but are viewed as antagonists by many Muslims."
Based on this, it appears that this will be a show trial. Between Emerson and Spencer, the whole of it is covered. Emerson knows who all the players are and what groups and cells they are affiliated with. He knows who everyone is and what he's doing. For King to acquiesce in his marginalization is almost criminal. In Spencer's case, it's just as bad. Why wouldn't King discuss the texts and teachings of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and make recruits?
For King not to avail himself of Emerson's knowledge and Spencer's scholarship is an astounding case of willful blindness.
Methinks Representative King is a wee bit in over his head. I am filled with dread and sorrow at another lost opportunity. Doesn't King know he is going to be smeared and defamed for these hearings no matter what? So why not achieve something? Why not have the courage of your convictions?
The Muslim groups are worried about these hearings with good reason. "On the gonif brent a hittle" -- the Yiddish axiom translated means "on the thief, the hat burns." At the last yearly Muslim Public Affairs Council Conference (December 18, 2010), one of the questions moderator Salaam Al Marayati asked his panel concerned the future hearings of Congressman Peter King. One of the panelists, an attorney named Angela Oh, said that any person subpoenaed should hire an attorney and that the attorney should advise the committee that the person under subpoena would not appear. The other panelists agreed.
One of the other panelists, an attorney named Reem Salahi, made a lot of noise about King and the IRA. I have the feeling that they want the media to exploit this. The entire session was recorded and appeared on the MPAC website.
And so perhaps it is no surprise that Representative King has already conceded key points. But why? How could he in good conscience squander such an important, historic opportunity?
Politico said that "King aims ... to call retired law enforcement officials and people with 'the real life experience of coming from the Muslim community.' Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in the House and a critic of the hearings, will likely be a minority witness, according to both King and the Minnesota Democrat."
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is infamous for his pro-Hamas rallies and his pilgrimage to the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, paid for by the Muslim Brotherhood. He is testifying, but Emerson and Spencer aren't? What can King achieve? King is going to call Zuhdi Jasser and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Jasser and Hirsi Ali are perfectly lovely, but to what end? Jasser's Islam does not exist. He does not have a theological leg to stand on. His mosque threw him out. Whatever he is practicing, it's not Islam, and he speaks for no one but himself. Also, Jasser has done some strange things: in May 2009, he made a last-minute effort to quash Geert Wilders' appearance on Capitol Hill under the aegis of Senator Kyl, calling Kyl's office the morning of the day Wilders was supposed to appear and stating that while Jasser had been in the Netherlands, Wilders refused to meet with Jasser because Wilders "doesn't meet with Muslims." That never happened, according to Wilders. And when I interviewed Jasser back in 2007, he referred to Israel as occupied territory in the last five minutes of the interview. He blew his cover. Further, Jasser refutes Islamic anti-Semitism in the interview. He may be well-intentioned, but his approach and theology are just plain un-Islamic. Logan's Warning pointed out recently that Jasser has no following among Muslims and doesn't represent any Islamic tradition. So what's the point? King probably thinks, as do other conservatives, that Jasser is the voice of reason in our cause of educating Americans about the threat of radical Islam. But in this, Jasser fails miserably. First off, there is no "reason" in Islam. There is only Islam. You cannot question, reason, or go off the reservation in any way. Hence, Jasser cannot educate about the threat, because he obfuscates the truth and has invented the Islam he follows.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is smart, fashionable, and a wonderful speaker. She is a great spokesperson, but she has removed herself from the front lines. She runs with a different crowd now. Yes, she can speak to the brutal oppression of women in Islam, but what can she bring to these hearings? If it's a former Muslim they want to hear from, who better than the world's leading scholar on Islam, Ibn Warraq?
That's all King really needs: Emerson, Spencer, and Ibn Warraq.
What a waste.Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer. She is the author of The Post-American Presidency.