Monday, February 7, 2011

Muslim Group Hosts Cooperation Forum

Ahead of this month's controversial congressional hearings on the radicalization of the Muslim community in the United States, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is hosting a forum on Muslim-American cooperation with law enforcement. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the brain trust behind the hearings, has cited concern over the alleged non-cooperation of Muslim leaders with law enforcement officials as a justification for the hearings. King has maintained his line about non-cooperation despite widespread insistence, including from Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), his predecessor as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, that no top level law enforcement or intelligence officials share his concerns.

While the forum is not tied directly to the upcoming hearings, Muslim leaders hope that the forum's theme and timing will help to deflate some of the tensions being generated by King's dangerous shenanigans in the House. The forum will feature voices from across the political spectrum; according to Haris Tarin of MPAC:
"What we wanted to do is to ensure that this did not become a partisan issue. We have people of various political leanings and various perspectives addressing the topic."
The forum will be moderated by Suhail Kahn, a former Bush administration official and, according to conservative conspiracy theorist and rabid Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, a sleeper agent for the Muslim Brotherhood.

In addition to the MPAC forum, in anticipation of Rep King's hearings a group of fifty faith, civil, and human rights groups published a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asking them to object to the hearings. Invoking the dark legacy of the McCarthy era, the letter describes King's proposed hearings as perpetuating "fear-mongering and divisive rhetoric that only weakens the fabric of our nation and distracts us from actual threats," and discusses the potential consequences of the proposed hearings for the Muslim community in the US and around the world.

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