Guy W. Farmer: Islamic extremism and terrorism

Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y., recently convened a controversial hearing on Islamic extremism in America and the left-wing blogosphere went berserk by branding King as a bigot and a racist. But why?

One additional question: Who flew those planes into New York's Twin Towers on 9/11? If I'm not mistaken, the terrorists who carried out the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent civilians were Islamic extremists. Since then, several other deadly plots have been planned and/or carried out by homegrown terrorists like deranged Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 43 others at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

Although Maj. Hasan yelled "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Great) as he opened fire, it took the Army nearly two years to acknowledge that he was an Islamic extremist motivated by his hatred of "infidels" (non-Muslims). A few days ago the Secretary of the Army finally disciplined nine officers for failing to warn that the al-Qaida sympathizer was a ticking time bomb.

But why did it take so long to identify Hasan as a potential terrorist? Two words: political correctness. In an administration which values political correctness above national security, no one wanted to speak out about Hasan's weird behavior and violent tendencies. After all, he was a psychiatrist and a minority. Mum was the word.

Over the past few years the FBI and Homeland Security have identified hundreds of Muslim extremists who think like Maj. Hasan. So it was only natural for Rep. King to call a hearing on the radicalization of Muslims in America, which ignited a political firestorm on the left.

"To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee - to protect America from terrorist attacks," King said. Among those who testified were two fathers whose sons converted to Islam before being recruited as terrorists.

Melvin Bledsoe, whose son is accused of shooting an Army private to death outside a Little Rock recruiting station, said King's hearing was necessary. "We're talking about stepping on their (Muslim) toes, and they're talking about stamping us out," Bledsoe said. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, added that "the U.S. has a significant problem with Muslim radicalization."

The only Muslim congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), broke down as he recalled a young Muslim -American first responder who died attempting to save 9/11 victims. "These (terrorists) are individuals, not entire communities," Ellison declared. "When you assign their violent actions to the entire community, you assign collective blame to an entire group." He's right, of course, but that's not what Rep. King is doing.

No one is blaming Muslim Americans as a group. King and his congressional allies are rightly attempting to focus public attention on radical Islam in America. If their efforts prevent future terrorist attacks in the U.S., we should thank them for shining a spotlight on a few dangerous Muslim extremists who hate America.

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired diplomat.


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