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Lexington : Muslims and McCarthyism

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A witch-hunt on one side, denial on the other, as the threat of home-grown terrorism rises

IS A new Joe McCarthy strutting his stuff up on Capitol Hill? You might think so, to judge by the abuse that has thundered down on the head of Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, following his decision to start hearings on “The Extent of Radicalisation in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”. Even before the first one took place this week, the very idea of the hearings came under withering fire from liberal America. They were “fuel for the bigots”, said Richard Cohen, a columnist at the Washington Post. “To focus an investigative spotlight on an entire religious or ethnic community is a violation of everything America is supposed to stand for,” echoed Bob Herbert in the New York Times. “Security hearings that focus exclusively on Muslim Americans serve only to amplify the rumblings of Islamophobia that seem to become louder and crazier by the day,” concurred Eugene Robinson, another of the Post’s columnists.

It is indeed hard to find much to like in Mr King. The representative for Long Island has approached this most sensitive of subjects with the delicacy of a steamroller, plus an overactive imagination and a generous dollop of prejudice. To be clear: he may not be prejudiced against America’s Muslims (the “overwhelming majority” are “outstanding Americans”, he says) but he long ago prejudged the question his own hearings are supposed to answer, being already firmly of the view that the country’s Muslims are doing too little to counter radicalisation within their ranks. He is the author of a novel, “Vale of Tears”, in which a heroic version of his thinly disguised self busts a home-grown al-Qaeda cell at a Long Island Islamic centre. His own attitude to terrorism, though, is conveniently elastic. In the 1980s this Irish-American Catholic sympathised strongly with the Irish Republican Army, going so far as to compare Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the terrorist group’s political wing, to George Washington. ...

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作者: 未署名
发布者: yibei
 
创建时间: 2011-03-10
更新时间: 2011-03-22
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书集: The Economist: Full print edition
知识库: 英语单词