How should Muslims respond to the hearings?
On March 10, 2011, Representative Peter King, R-N.Y., of the Department of Homeland Security Committee will hold hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in America. Not surprisingly, most Muslim organizations have accused Representative King of pursuing an anti-Muslim agenda and of being a hypocrite since he was a strong supporter of the Irish Republican Army, which the United States labeled a terrorist organization. Representative King has fired back that the Muslim community has not done enough to assist law enforcement in fighting terrorism and that 85 percent of Muslim Mosques are controlled by radicals or the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently, a controversy has erupted around the hearings and King's allegation that the Muslim community has a problem with extremism has received more media attention than any rational Muslim leader could possible want.
The Free Muslims Coalition does not know the intention of Representative King but we do know that the response of traditional Muslim organizations, in opposing the hearings, has done a disservice to the Muslim community.
It is a well known fact that American Muslims are perceived as extreme and radical by many Americans. Even if Representative King is insincere and has bad intentions, Muslim leaders should embrace the hearings and take the lead in understanding and eliminating the cause of radicalization, to the extent that it exists among Muslims in America. When Muslims take the lead in the fight against radicalism, extremism and terrorism then it will be difficult for their critics to cast the blame on all Muslims or Islam for the actions of a few deranged lunatics.
For this reason, the Free Muslims Coalition salutes Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, for taking the lead in the fight against extremism. We can only hope that other Muslim leaders learn from Dr. Jasser's initiatives.