Congressman Peter King and the Run of Anti-Muslim Republican Presidential Candidates

Eyes on Muslim Americans
Peter King has his eyes on Muslim Americans

According to my go-to Irish American news website Irish Central:

Congressman Peter King, the most prominent Irish American for decades in the House of Representatives, is considering a run for the White House, Newsmax magazine confirms.” (See the article here)

If he indeed runs for president in 2016, King will continue with the recent tradition of the Republican Party fielding candidates who’re blatantly anti-Muslim bigots and shockingly ignorant of Islam.

Before we dive into King’s comments about Muslim Americans and Islam, have a look back at the 2012 presidential campaign to see what the Republican candidates had to say…

  • Michelle Bachmann wanted to hunt Muslims down as if she were a fundamentalist Christian in the early 17th century in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • Newt Gingrich, who I wrote about in a piece while he was the leading Republican candidate, said that Islam put America at risk and constantly pushed the ludicrous “clash of civilizations” theory – that “the West” and “Islam” are incompatible.
  • In July 2011, Adam Serwer at the Washington Post wondered if Herman Cain had hit a new level of anti-Muslim buffoonery.
  • Rick Santorum, who approached Nazi territory by using the word “eradicate” in the same sentence as Islam, didn’t actually win the award for craziest comment by a Republican running for president.
  • That award went to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who suggested during a Republican presidential debate that the leader of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, was an Islamic terrorist.

Now that we’ve recapped those horrendous points, let’s see what Peter King, the modern day Joe McCarthy, has said about Muslim Americans and Islam in the U.S:

  • He’s on record saying that “[u]nfortunately, we have too many mosques in [the U.S].”
  • He’s stated that “there has been a lack of full cooperation from too many people in the Muslim community.”
  • After the Boston Marathon bombing, he suggested that we “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance [in mosques].”
  • He’s claimed that “despite a person’s ethnic background or religious background, when a war begins, we’re all Americans. But in this case, this is not the situation [with Muslims]. And whether it’s pressure, whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should.” That’s a bunch of baloney, as I documented on the 4th of July 2013 with an article dedicated to Muslim American veterans for the Huffington Post.
  • He’s “disappointed by so many leaders in the Muslim community who do not denounce Al Qaeda,” even though it’s well-documented that Muslim Americans across the country CONSTANTLY denounce terrorism.

The editor of The American Muslim website Sheila Musaji has documented a list of Muslim American leaders who’ve come out and stated clearly that terrorism has no place in Islam. So, it appears that King is simply not a good listener.

To be fair, those are only a few of the downright offensive comments King has made towards Muslim Americans and Islam. A simple Google search will provide additional sources.

The funny part, if there’s one, about Peter King’s statements is that he bases them “on facts, reason, and informed social conscious…” (his direct quote). That’s scary actually considering he’s “the most prominent Irish American for decades in the House of Representatives.” That sure doesn’t make Irish Americans look too bright.

Peter King with a questionable Irish lad (Gerry Adams, left)
Gerry Adams and Peter King

The irony behind Peter King’s anti-Islamic crusade is that he’s had ties to Ireland’s own terror group, the IRA (whose members happen not to be Muslim believers – what does King say about that?). Here’s what Scott Shane wrote at the New York Times regarding King’s IRA connection:

“For Representative Peter T. King, as he seizes the national spotlight this week with a hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims, it is the most awkward of résumé entries. Long before he became an outspoken voice in Congress about the threat from terrorism, he was a fervent supporter of a terrorist group, the Irish Republican Army.

As Mr. King, a Republican, rose as a Long Island politician in the 1980s, benefiting from strong Irish-American support, the I.R.A. was carrying out a bloody campaign of bombing and sniping, targeting the British Army, Protestant paramilitaries and sometimes pubs and other civilian gathering spots. His statements, along with his close ties to key figures in the military and political wings of the I.R.A., drew the attention of British and American authorities.

A judge in Belfast threw him out of an I.R.A. murder trial, calling him an ‘obvious collaborator,’ said Ed Moloney, an Irish journalist and author of ‘A Secret History of the I.R.A.’ In 1984, Mr. King complained that the Secret Service had investigated him as a “security risk,” Mr. Moloney said.”

As an American, and an Irish American at that, I find King’s behavior shameful and his comments embarrassing. I’ve never met the man, so perhaps I’m being anti-Christian by passing judgment, but it’s hard for me to overlook his racism and bigotry. I say this because I’ve studied Islam in America for years and years. I’ve been in the field. I’ve been to the mosques. I’ve spent days and days with Muslims and have come to know them well.

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