After Republican Peter King called for Muslims to be religiously profiled, Rep. Keith Ellison shredded King’s claim that Muslims are the source of the terror threat against America.
Transcript from Meet The Press:
GREGORY: Let’s talk about the surveillance within the Muslim community. That’s partly what you were talking about this week, Congressman King. you said this in the National Review and this is how they reported it, police have to be in the community. They have to build up as many sources as they can. And they have to realize that the threat is coming from the muslim community and increase surveillance there. We can’t be bound by political correctness.
REP. KING: Absolutely. The nypd is doing in New York with 1,000 police officers focusing on this issue, knowing where the threat is coming from. Now most Muslims are outstanding people but the threat is coming from the Muslim community. Yesterday Tom Friedman who is certainly no conservative, said we must ask the question only Muslims can answer. What is going on in your community that a review of your youth believes every military action in the Middle East justifies a violent response? It’s coming from the community. And in previous times when had certain elements in the community are the ones responsible to crime, the police focused on it. For instance in Boston the FBI never spoke to the Boston Police about the older brother. And afterwards there was no intelligence files in boston on these types of people, people inclined to terrorism. The FBI never even got to examining him.
GREGORY: Congressman, you’re a Muslim. This concerns you on civil libertarian grounds and other areas.
REP> ELLISON: Well, I’m an American, and I’m concerned about national safety, public safety, just like everyone is. But I think it’s ineffective law enforcement to go after a particular community. I think what we need to do is look at behavior and follow those leads where they would lead. So, like if Tamerlan Tsarnaev is evidencing dangerous behavior, by all means, go after him. But once you start saying we’re going to dragnet or surveil a community, what you do is you ignore dangerous threats that are not in that community and you go after people who don’t have anything to do with it. And so let me just finish up with this one point. and so this ricin attack, for example, that’s an act of terrorism. That doesn’t come out of the Muslim community. We don’t have enough law enforcement resources to just go after one community and, remember, we went after a community in World War II. The Japanese internment is a national stain on our country, and we are still apologizing for it.
Rep. Ellison was correct. The statistics as of April 2012 tell us that 56% of domestic terror threats came from right wing extremists. Just 12% of domestic terror threats came from Muslim extremists. It would be bad public policy, and a waste of resources to devote law enforcement to going after Muslims.
Rep. King wasn’t interested in what was good policy. He was trying to score political points with those in the Republican rank and file, who believe that Muslims are responsible for all terrorism. Rep. Ellison pretty much destroyed that argument by bringing up the recent ricin letter sender. As usual, Republicans like Peter King claim to be the protectors of civil liberties, while trying to away the civil liberties of others.
Rep. Ellison was well prepared for King’s bigotry based call for the profiling and spying on of all Muslims. It is interesting to note that King was calling for would likely make America less safe by applying our resources to where the majority of the threat isn’t.
Keith Ellison easily poked holes in the bigotry that Peter King was selling, but their exchange was a reminder that the right’s trampling of individual liberties didn’t end when George W. Bush left office.
The Meet Press segment was another example of a Republican trying to wave the flag while planning to take away freedoms, while a Democrat stood up for civil liberties.
It is impossible to understand why any true freedom loving American would ever vote Republican.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association