The upcoming 'Muslim Hearings'

by Maureen Fiedler

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is planning hearings in the House Committee on Homeland Security on what he calls the “radicalization” of some American Muslims. This move has caused an interfaith uproar, with prominent leaders of many faith traditions calling on King to cancel the hearings. The protesting groups include Pax Christi, the Interfaith Alliance and Amnesty International.

They point to the danger of increasing an already dangerous level of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia in the United States. Many have compared the hearings to McCarthyism. What used to be a “communist under every rose bush” could become a “Muslim terrorist under every robe.”

This week on Interfaith Voices, we featured two thoughtful American Muslims discussing these hearings and their potential fallout.

Zuhdi Jasser favors the hearings and is negative toward mainstream Muslim organizations for not being critical of “political Islam” in some American mosques and communities. Akbar Ahmed believes that the hearings can have a useful function if they look honestly at the reality and diversity of the American Muslim community and do not paint all Muslims with a broad brush of “terrorism.” He worries about the “media circus” they may create.

Later in the show, Kim Bobo of Interfaith Worker Justice highlights the role of religions and clergy in the Wisconsin labor protests, with special mention of the Catholic Bishops’ statements, both nationally and in Wisconsin. In about three minutes, she spins out a concise history of the religion/labor alliance from the 1830’s to the present.

Finally, Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, talks about his new ministry in a Brooklyn bar.

Here’s the link to this week’s Interfaith Voices.

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