When New York Rep. Peter King, the new chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called for congressional hearings on radical Islam in America this fall, the reaction from the official Muslim community was swift. Ibrahim Hooper, president of the Council on American- Islamic Relations, said he feared the hearings would become an “anti-Muslim witch hunt.” Abed A. Ayoub of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asserted that Mr. King’s proposal had “bigoted intentions.”
While Mr. King has a reputation for adopting polarizing positions””particularly when it comes to immigration””his hearings deserve serious consideration. “There has to be an honest discussion of the role of the Muslim community””what they are doing, what they’re not doing,” he explained to the New York Observer in a Nov. 30 article. “I talk to law enforcement people across the country; they will tell me. . . . They don’t feel any sense of cooperation.”
These concerns are reasonable. Histrionic objections to them only deter Muslims from fulfilling a fundamental Islamic obligation: Meeting our duty to the society in which we live.