Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, March 2011
Radicalization Is Not A Muslim Thing:
A Response to Islamophobe Peter King
By Tammy Obeidallah
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 21, 2011
New York Congressman Pete King served as ringmaster at the latest congressional circus looking into Muslim “radicalization” and its perceived threat to the Homeland. Unfortunately, I was not invited to testify at this hearing, else I would have been happy to share my insights with Congressman King as to what “radicalization” means and how I became “radicalized.”
Granted, I am not a Muslim; therefore I will not pretend to speak for Muslims, “radicalized” or not. I will, however, hazard a guess I could do a better job than Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, who tearfully recounted the story of Mohammad Salman Hamdani during the recent hearings. Hamdani was the Pakistani Muslim firefighter killed on 9/11 who was accused posthumously of being a co-conspirator in the attacks, allegations which were later proven false. The poignant theatrics by Ellison would have been an appropriate show of sympathy, was it not for the fact that a large portion of his congressional career to date has been devoted to serving as poster boy for the State Department. Engaging in such “image-building” abroad illustrates what a tolerant and diverse country the U.S. truly is and that Muslims are accepted and even elected to prominent positions in government—when they’re not being waterboarding or spied upon while praying. Ellison also proudly served as the token Muslim on a trip to the Jewish State sponsored by the America Israel Education Federation and visited Iraq in order to personally bestow praise on occupiers.
Not to be outdone was Imam Rauf, whose exchange with erstwhile john and
now co-host of yet another talking head show on CNN Elliot Spitzer, was
posted on the aptly named blog “Ikhras,” (Arabic for “shut up”).
Rauf’s only complaint about the Peter King hearings was that more law
enforcement agencies had not been invited to testify just how many Muslims
are quislings for the FBI, spying in mosques and informing on their
neighbors. Such gross displays of allegiance to an organization hell-bent on
oppressing not only Muslims, but peace activists as well—23 of whom have
been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury— pushes those of us who
believe in civil disobedience rather than collaboration a little closer to
Being a Christian, my “radicalization” did not involve indoctrination by
Islamic militants; it began with my own observations during a trip to
Palestine in 2001. One of the first things I witnessed was an Orthodox Jew
riding his bike through a crowd of Muslim women in the narrow streets of
Jerusalem’s Old City, his legs outstretched nonchalantly as they scrambled
to get out of his way. After a few days, I traveled to Khan Younis
refugee camp in Gaza and met 14 year-old Muhammad, who told me he was beaten
by Israeli soldiers for playing on the beach.
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