posted 2011-04-06 13:00:24

The Atrocity of Peter King: From A Country in Crisis

The Atrocity of Peter King: From A Country in Crisis

Nipa Hossain

Contributing Writer

Since I came to this country at the young age of two, I have always lived in New York, and for that I am truly grateful. Because it is here in New York that I have not only learned about respect and tolerance, but also become a living witness to the fundamental idea that all human beings deserve nothing less than the utmost respect from their neighbors. Even as a practicing Muslim, in the initial days that followed 9/11, I was never looked down upon with fear or disgust by my non-Muslim peers.

Yet, it is years later that I find that the beauty of tolerance, that I had come to see as the epitome of New York life, is now drastically changing. I no longer see our government coming to the defense of its non-terrorist Muslim American citizens. I no longer see the acceptance of the idea that a group of horrific people committing an act of atrocity does not represent the billions of Muslims worldwide.

Instead I am bombarded with images of the protest against the building of a mosque because of what a group of awful people who proclaimed to be Muslims (though in actuality are not) did near that site. I am forced to bear witness as security officials target Muslims at airports because of their religion. And worst of all, I am forced to witness a congressional hearing held by a New York Representative, on the so-called radicalization of Muslim Americans. And for that I say, shame on you, Peter King. Shame on you.

Look, I won’t deny that there are radical terrorists who are Muslim. But just as extremism exists in the Muslim faith, it also does in other religions. If the radicalization of Muslims is such a problem, how come there were no hearings held when Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal building in Oklahoma in the name of his religion. Or when stories surfaced of Mormon children who were molested by their priests, why were hearings not held on them? Or how about Jim Jones, who poisoned nearly 900 people? Was that not an example of religious fanaticism?

But Peter King would never acknowledge those extremisms. Instead he continues to target Muslims despite hearing the emotional testimony of Representative Keith Ellison who spoke of a 9/11 Muslim American paramedic, Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who died trying to save other Americans; who only until his remains were found, was cleared on suspicion of carrying out the 9/11 attacks. Nor would King acknowledge that people of all faiths, including over 30 known Muslim Americans, died during the attacks. King also refuses to acknowledge that many attacks were thwarted with the help of Muslim Americans. It is with this knowledge that I denounce Peter Kings as racist, narcissist, and plainly, as he surely regards many Muslims, un-American.

I am aware that many will argue that such hearings are just a discussion on the radicalization of some, but not all Muslim Americans. But once you associate radicalization with a certain group, you have stereotyped them. And as we all have learned from the Holocaust, treatment of the Japanese during WWII and the struggle of African Americans, an accepted stereotype can lead to treacherous territories filled with police brutality, interment camps and even death.

So before Peter King starts lecturing on others religion, perhaps he should look at another scared book called the Constitution, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By targeting Muslims, he has certainly not followed the second verse of all Americans, including his own, holy book.