But questions do remain. For example, what exactly was said that was considered intolerable? Stations such as WMAL build their reputations around provocative and even incendiary conversation usually advancing conservative principles and positions. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and local host Chris Plante all inveigh regularly against radical Muslims and lose no time hammering President Obama for his toadying positions on the Middle East. We swam in the same rhetorical stream as they but always tried to buttress our diatribes with facts, figures, and contributions from experts in the field.
In some instances, unlike our colleagues, we even named names. These were individuals affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups who over the last two decades had gone in one of two directions. They were either holding positions of authority in the Clinton, Bush, or Obama administrations or they were in jail. In only one instance did an individual identified by us ask to come on the air and defend himself. We afforded him that opportunity not once but twice.
Perhaps the disqualifying remark came when we claimed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was an agent of Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. If I were handling public relations for that outfit that would certainly rattle my cage. But, of course, when we made that assertion we were not simply offering our own opinion or that of some blog we had just read. We were citing a federal court case(Holy Land Foundation trial of 2008) which so stipulated.
We will never know the answer because when asked station management said they never received any complaints from CAIR or any other Muslim support group. But if that is true, then what was the problem?
Anway, what’s done is done and ultimately the unanswered questions are not as important to the national conversation on domestic terrorism as the ones that have not yet been asked. Anyone who watched the Peter King hearings would have to conclude they were not a McCarthyesque witch hunt. If anything, they did not go far enough into the connection between radicalized individuals and the infrastructure of mosques, madrassahs, and nonprofit organizations in place to indoctrinate them. King has continued to take fire for his inquiry including the most recent accusation by the Pakistani-American woman who claims she was yanked off a Southwest Airlines flight by an attendant over-reacting because of a congressional hearing. Plenty of abuse to go around but absolutely no argument to support her charge and yet if we had to bet someone will probably lose their job because of this incident.
So the first question that needs to be posed is this: how long do we accept this blatant falsehood that Muslims in this country are being singled out and harassed because of their beliefs? The Los Angeles City Council has gone so far as to pass a resolution saluting pluralism and condemning statements critical of Islam as hate speech. This despite the findings of L.A.’s own Commission on Human Relations which revealed that 88% of all religiously based hate crimes in 2009 were against Jews. Muslims weighed in at a hefty 3%, just nosing out Scientologists.
Communities large and small across America have welcomed Muslim families and businesses and houses of worship and treated them as friends and neighbors. Yet organizations such as CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which is behind the LA resolution, are manipulating that trust and creating a bogus indictment of prejudice and bigotry that is undermining law enforcement, our media, educational institutions, and political debate both at home and abroad. Whether it is Peter King, a professional broadcaster, or a concerned group of citizens, it is time to ask why and not stop until we get an answer.
If we say nothing or do nothing then expect more of the same. In fact, as we say in the news business, this just in. Last week Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, announced a new campaign on MTV to fight bullying and intolerance online. Coalition partners in this effort include the National Council of La Raza, the Anti-Defamation League, GLAAD, and, of course, CAIR, the very same organization whose leaders the FBI has formally repudiated.
“Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything you asked for can be done.”
The author of that statement has a profound understanding of America and the world in the 21st century. Unfortunately, those are the words of Osama Bin Laden.