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March 10, 2011

Radical Islam
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:30 PM * 40 comments

I read:

A congressional panel looking into the radicalization of Muslim Americans convened Thursday to hear testimony, some emotional, from proponents of stronger action to limit the threat of homegrown terrorism as well as critics opposed to sweeping stereotypes.

Despite strong criticism from Muslim Americans and accusations of a McCarthyist revival, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-New York, defended the controversial hearing as neither “radical or un-American.”

That’s Peter “I Lurve teh IRA” King.

I tell you what, if I were a Muslim American, this set of hearings would go a long, long way toward radicalizing me.

Comments on Radical Islam:
#1 ::: Denise ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:00 PM:

"Peter King" = "Hypocrite"


#2 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Then all that need happen is some enterprising Al-Q chap detailing how Osama got bank/tactical help from the decommissioning IRA? Tangible linkage to his terra-lovin' past to present terraists, would at last sink King....

#3 ::: Ingrid ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 05:22 PM:

I feel the same about this proposal the way I feel about the death penalty. Simple in conception; doomed to destroy the innocent and polarize (and eventually radicalize) any group it comes in contact with.

#4 ::: Keith E. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:02 PM:

"A congressional panel looking into the radicaliz[e]ation of Muslim Americans."

Fixed it.

#5 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:12 PM:

If I were really cynical I'd think that creating radical Muslim-Americans was the purpose of these hearings.

You'll notice that among the witnesses King is planning to call, law enforcement officials and counter-terrorism specialists are conspicuously missing. They wouldn't be likely to support his narrative.

#6 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Peter King has explained in a variety of ways why he believes the IRA aren't terrorists. The explanation I think he most believes is in this article.

“I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.”

I find this argument unpersuasive, although I note that I am not a citizen of the United States and have found myself within earshot of an IRA explosion.

Another difference is that the IRA political wing worked for a non-military solution and eventually achieved one. I don't know for sure, but it seems to me King imagines any peaceful solution unimaginable* and possibly undesirable.

* I on the other hand think such an attempt to be very difficult, time consuming and sometimes painful. Also worth attempting.

#7 ::: Melanie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Keith Ellison's entire statement is worth reading.

#8 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:37 PM:

My Representative continues to embarrass me. Time for another letter. I continue to wonder how often I can send them without being dropped in the crank file.

#9 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 06:55 PM:

"It's not a fair comparison, I only supported terrorists who killed overseas!"


#10 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Melanie S. @ 7: Thank you for the link. I've been waiting for someone to bring up the other terrorist groups we've faced over the years. I particularly liked that Ellison started his list by casually reminding everyone of the KKK . . .

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Jim, funnily enough, those are my feelings. I'm anything but Muslim.

#12 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 07:56 PM:

Neil W #6: I also find that argument unpersuasive.

#13 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 08:08 PM:

By God, this has just about cured me of listening to the news. I was already head-down in despair over Wisconsin, and hate groups, and the NYT Texas rape story. I just don't have enough serotonin to cope with this shit.

#14 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 08:21 PM:

Representative Ellison's testimony about the Muslim 9/11 first responder who died trying to help that day is on video here. It's quite a moment, unless you're Rep. King, in which case Rep. Ellison is just an overly-emotional politically-correct Democrat.

#15 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 08:55 PM:

He got the Los Angeles County Sheriff, who proceeded to tell King that he's Doin It Rong. And meant it - the sheriff doesn't go raiding mosques for the fun of it, and he doesn't bad mouth groups like CAIR.

The two Muslims in my work group are nice people, and as far as I can tell they're as non-radical as you can find. (They're less radical than me....)

#16 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 09:26 PM:

I'm not sure I'd support a Congressional Committee to Investigate the Radicalization of American Christians -- but I'm tempted to suggest that one be formed.

#17 ::: Ryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 10:09 PM:

I am an atheist and like most people committed to the idea of nonviolent protest. I also live in Rep. Ellison's district, I have to say that these hearings are enough to start radicalizing me.

#18 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2011, 10:22 PM:

The radicalization of American Christians... like these guys?

#19 ::: praisegod barebones has been RELEASED ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Jim @ 18

There's also this

(I've no reason to think that he's a Christian, mind. But I'm sure he has associates who are 'linked' with 'historically Christian communities'.)

#20 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 12:59 AM:

I live in Portland, Oregon. You may recall that the FBI built a fake bomb for a 19-year-old Muslim man last November, put it in a van for him, and kept parking spaces open so he could park it next to a crowded square the night of a Christmas tree lighting, watched him press a button on a cell phone that they told him would detonate it, and then arrested him. This was the lead on the news around here, and probably elsewhere in the country.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Spokane, Washington, a bomb was found on the path of the parade. It was disarmed before it was detonated.

An official briefed by law enforcement but not allowed to speak to the media regarding the investigation said the bomb was "chilling" in its sophistication. The bomb contained anti-coagulant chemical agents intended to make anyone wounded by the blast "bleed out," the official said.

The bomb was surrounded by metal shrapnel and designed to go off by remote control, the official said. (CNN)

The suspect in that bombing was just arrested. There was no story on the cover of The Oregonian about it. I did come across a small story inside the paper. I guess it wasn't newsworthy because he's a white supremacist rather than a "Radical Islamist".

#21 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Neil W @ 6:

"I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States."

So presumably he believes that patriotic citizens of countries not attacked by al-Qaeda would be acting quite morally to support AQ's attacks on the US? At any rate, that pretty much lets the rest of the world off the hook in supporting the War On Terror, which is nice. My compatriots can now stop dying in Afghanistan directly, assuming that King doesn't find some other bunch of nice new playmates who will blow up his allies' forces on their way home from his pals' wars.

I hope that these hearings will indeed radicalize Muslims alongside many other Americans - though not in the direction that King is trolling for, or one which the explodey boys will like very much at all.

#22 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 02:09 AM:

If Peter King were to announce similar hearings into the radicalization of, say, Jews or Catholics, he'd be abandoned on an ice floe, because the country has mostly gotten past considering them to be subversive outsiders, and threatening them gets you recognized as not being a member of civilized society.

On the other hand, the right-wing propaganda machine has done a good enough job of making Muslims to be a politically acceptable scary enemy that this hearing may help radicalize more right-wing voters into being scared and xenophobic more than the number of civilized people it radicalizes into giving King the public scorn he deserves. Or at least he thinks it will, and he's pretty sure the Republican leadership won't throw him under a bus for trying.

If the purpose of the Homeland Security organs of government were to actually make the homeland more secure, as opposed to making the people more afraid and dependent, it would be unthinkable that this terrorist supporter would be in charge of a Congressional committee on it, but as it is, he'll probably get attaboys from all the right folks.

#24 ::: James V ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 03:06 AM:

Neil W @6, I'm told Peter King is wrong and that the IRA did kill a US citizen at Harrod's.

#25 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 03:12 AM:

Rep. King is presumably fine with Hamas and Hezbollah, then, which have also never attacked the United States.

#26 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 03:26 AM:

janetl #20

bomb contained anti-coagulant chemical agents intended to make anyone wounded by the blast "bleed out," the official said

That may have been what was intended, but it's not going to work that way. They're claiming it was something similar to rat poison, ie, a vitamin K antagonist. These stop vitamin K being recycled, and when you run out of vitamin K you stop making various clotting factors. But this all takes time. Days, not minutes. And there's a perfectly effective antidote: vitamin K.

And that's ignoring the fact that if you get hit by enough bomb shrapnel to get a significant dose of the anticoagulant you'll have enough holes in you to not need any other reason to bleed out.

#27 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 03:37 AM:

So on currently-accepted logic, does that entitle us (Britain) to deploy predator drones over the head of rep. King? Apologies in advance for any collateral damage.

OB disclaimer: this comment appears for argumentative purposes only and does not constitute any actual policy on behalf of Her Majesty's Government or any other similar entity. Sheesh.

#28 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 04:25 AM:

thomas @26,

That bomb thing is straight out of Tom Clancy's latest. All he'll get is a fraction of a penny from the library loan, and there were all sorts of little glitches--obvious writing errors such as missed words, as well as some glaring mil-tech errors--which make that feel generous.

He has the terrorist go out to plant a claymore mine, and writes it as if the rat poison was added while the guy is setting it up on-site. Could be a block of text got a cut-and-paste into the wrong place, but you'd think a competent editor would notice.

There's other stuff as bad, quite apart from stuff where the criticism could be seen as political. But Red October, regardless of any political payload, was a book worth reading. Now he's turning out right-wing wank-fests.

#29 ::: soru ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 06:54 AM:

Doubt it would be a good thing if Clancy was feeding the terrorist wing of his readership practical and effective tips...

#30 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 07:18 AM:

David @ 27... does that entitle us (Britain) to deploy predator drones over the head of rep. King?

"So. Invisible killer drones."
"Keeps getting better."
- from one of Eureka's SNAFUs

#31 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 07:40 AM:

#26 Thomas They're claiming it was something similar to rat poison, ie, a vitamin K antagonist.

He was using warfarin (Coumadin)? You're kidding! That has an onset time measured in days, and the anticoagulant effect is preceded by a period of hypercoagulation. Plus I'm not certain that the route would work (assuming that the chemical wasn't denatured by the heat of the explosion to start with).

#32 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 08:43 AM:


Hezbolah blew up a bunch of US marines occupying Lebanon in the 80s. I don't think Hamas or FARC has ever attacked the US directly, though I could be wrong. (And FARC is certainly fine with killing Americans they come across, or kidnapping them and holding them for ransom.) And yet, I'm pretty sure if I started collecting money to send to Hamas or FARC, I'd end up in prison for material support of terrorists. So I don't think King's definition makes much sense, relative to the law.

The narrative right now is that we are to fear the scary brown Muslims, not the scary white neo-Nazis, the scary black gang members, the scary brown narcos[1], the scary yellow (or is that red) Chinese spies, the scary green environmentalists, etc. I'm sure sooner or later, we'll find some other easily-identified group to have a coordinated media fear-drumming-up campaign against. And really, it's okay if you want to be afraid of any or all those other groups while you're scared of the scary brown Muslims, who are undoubtedly hiding under your bed next to the child molester you're also supposed to fear constantly.

[1] Who, in terms of resources, firepower, and infiltration of the US, are easily two or three orders of magnitude more dangerous to us than Al Qaida.

#33 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Steve Downey @8: Time for another letter. I continue to wonder how often I can send them without being dropped in the crank file.

Would it be too cynical to speculate that that number might be one (1)?

#34 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 02:08 PM:

David@27, according to the Bush/Obama doctrines, which say it's ok to invade Afghanistan and attack their Taliban government because they allowed Al Qaeda to operate there, it's perfectly fine for Her Majesty's Government to bomb large parts of Boston and also Geary St. in San Francisco. (It's been maybe five years since I've stopped by the Irish bars on Geary, but there was still Noraid fundraising literature around.)

#35 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 07:11 PM:

Jim Macdonald #31

He was using warfarin (Coumadin)? You're kidding!

I assume it was one of the modern rat-poison variants like brodifacoum rather than actual pharmaceutical-grade Coumadin, but the effect would be the same.

#36 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2011, 07:59 PM:

Some of what the Spokane bomber did was more sensible than the attempt at anti-coagulant. He placed the bomb inside the curve of a concrete bench, which would have acted to reflect some of the backblast to the front, increasing blast and shrapnel damage in the direction of the crowd and the parade. He may have gotten some of his ideas from Tom Clancy, but they weren't all ineffectual.

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 12:23 PM:

Bruce Cohen #36 He may have gotten some of his ideas from Tom Clancy, but they weren't all ineffectual.

Regardless of how effective or ineffective he would have been, with everything else being exactly the one-for-one same, if his first name had been Mohammad that would have been front-page in every paper in the country, and Beck and Limbaugh and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg and all the rest of the nonsense-screamers of the right would be yammering about it still.

#38 ::: Dave DuPlantis ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 02:20 PM:

I read Rep. Ellison's testimony and used the link on his site to thank him for it.

I think that when there's a shift in political power (in the US, at least; that's all I really know well enough to comment about), as there was in the House after the last election, there are usually concerns from the new minority party that the new majority will engage in some kind of extreme overreaction.

Usually, that's not what happens. This time, well ... I guess they're not bothering with subtlety, it's just an all-out attack on, I don't know, everything reasonable?

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 02:34 PM:

Jim Macdonald:

Oh, no question. It's amazing how little has been said about the arrest here in Portland; we're only a few hundred miles away, and we've already had one "terrorist" event recently, as janetl pointed out. But, yes, that was a scary brown person, so much was made of it, despite the obvious FBI entrapment.

I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years, and I can remember many incidents involving scary white people, mostly Aryan Nation types (though the Rajneeshees were a bizarre change of pace). Just a few weeks ago we had a trial involving a couple of anti-government militia (a father and son, the family that slays together, stays together :-( accused of setting a bomb that killed a bomb squad officer and a police captain, and seriously injured the police chief of a small town just south of here. Ignoring this sort of thing to try to build up xenophobia about Muslims1 is going to mean that more cops and civilians are going to be injured and killed because we're not paying attention to the real dangers.

1. Notice that a number of Sikhs have been attacked in the US because they wore turbans and had beards. The FUD that the xenophobes have been spreading doesn't take into account that the Sikhs are not Muslims, nor Arabs, and have no connection to any sort of Mujahadeen radical movement. Doesn't matter: they're brown and they're scary.

#40 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Looking for a reason for radicalization?

The FBI’s tactics surfaced last week in the case of Ahmadullah Niazi in Tustin, California. According to MPAC, in 2007, Niazi reported suspicious behavior by a new Muslim convert in his mosque, who he said was talking about jihad and suggested planning a terrorist attack in conversations with others at the Islamic Center of Irvine. He and a mosque official filed a report with the Los Angeles field office of the FBI. The FBI then told mosque officials that they were investigating the matter, and the mosque successfully got a three-year restraining order against the individual.

Niazi reported that FBI officials later contacted him to ask him to be a paid informant. When he refused, he said they threatened to make his life “a living hell.” Niazi was arrested last week on charges related to lying on his immigration documents and was released yesterday on $500,000 bail.

MPAC said mosque members were shocked when FBI Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III testified that the convert reported by Niazi was actually an FBI informant who had infiltrated several mosques in Orange County, California.

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