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King Hearings a Victory for al-Qaeda

Author: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
March 9, 2011


Editor's note: Ed Husain is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "The Islamist."

Al Qaeda is watching America closely Thursday. Every so often, with the best of intentions, Americans blunder and provide our enemies with great propaganda victories. Thursday is one such day.

Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is holding the first in a possible series of congressional hearings on the "Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response." The title is flawed (Muslims are racially, linguistically and denominationally diverse), and its suggestion of community responsibility for terrorism is also partly wrong.

No community can stop terrorists alone. It is the work of law enforcement agencies to protect the nation.

King has complained that American Muslims do not cooperate with the FBI and others. Where is the evidence? In preparing for Thursday's hearings, King had an excellent opportunity to invite testimonials from officials who share that concern. No such testimony is planned. Granted, there may well be a reluctance in some communities to trust the FBI, but it is the FBI's job to win and maintain trust. King's hearings threaten, regrettably, to further strain whatever trust exists.

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