Arab media in U.S. react to Islamic terrorism hearings

byDana Liebelson
Mar 15, 2011 in Specialized Topics

A group of Arab journalists based in America expressed concern that Islamic terrorism hearings in the U.S. Congress will foster hate against Muslims and the Arab community in general.

Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) organized Congressional hearings with the aim of using Muslim witnesses to make his case that American Muslim leaders have failed to cooperate with law enforcement in stopping terrorism.

The hearings, which began March 10, have been controversial from the start. Supporters say the committee is bucking political correctness and protecting America from terrorist attacks while critics have called the hearings “McCarthyism 2.0.” King expects to hold additional hearings over the next 18 months.

New America Media, a network of over 2,000 ethnic news organizations, recently surveyed a group of Arab-media journalists from around the United States on the hearings and published a lengthy roundup of their comments.

“These hearings are going on to create more fear of Muslims. Our community is disgusted,” said Marwan Ahmed, publisher of the Arab and Muslim Voice in Phoenix, Arizona.

Several who testified at the hearings echoed Ahmed's fear that King is stirring up Islamophobia and hatred against Arabs. Representative Keith Ellison (D-M.N.), a Muslim lawmaker who spoke at the four-hour hearing, said that the hearings lump the entire Muslim American community in with violent extremists.

“Muslims are doctors in America's hospitals, teachers in our schools and owners of local grocery markets. Safety is a concern to the Muslim community as it is everywhere else, but the way these hearings are being conducted will divide the American public,” said Amani Ghouleh, publisher of the Arabic Horizon Newspaper in Chicago.

King intends to hold several more sessions over the next year and a half, on issues ranging from foreign funding of mosques to radicalization in American prisons.

Photo by asterix611, Creative Commons Attribution License