America testifies

By Eboo Patel and Samantha Kirby. We know why Rep. Keith Ellison cried during yesterday’s King hearings. He cried because … Continued

By Eboo Patel and Samantha Kirby.

We know why Rep. Keith Ellison cried during yesterday’s King hearings.

He cried because an American hero, Salman Hamdani, was suspected as a terrorist because of the simple fact of his faith. Hamdani was a first responder in New York on September 11th and sacrificed his life for his fellow Americans. His actions were those of a hero, but in the days after 9/11, you couldn’t say “Muslim” without having it followed by “terrorist.”

Keith Ellison cried because he is a father. Because he is concerned that when people hear that his kids are Muslim, they connect it automatically to the term “terrorist.”

Keith Ellison cried because he is an American congressperson. Because he doesn’t want any community – whether Catholics in the 1880s or Japanese Americans and Jews in the 1940s – to have a reputation in the public imagination as traitors or terrorists because of their identity.

Los Angeles county Sheriff Leroy Baca testified that we are safer when we work together, not when we are divided. He said that, “Our enemies cannot survive when we respond together.” We don’t know about you, but when someone who served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and now runs the largest sheriff’s department in the world says that, we listen.

Congressman Ellison echoed this when he said, “The best defense against extreme ideologies is social inclusion and civic engagement.”

There are thousands of wonderful things happening right now that do just this. One of the best emails we saw this week was from the Rabbi at Northwestern University, who sent over a petition he was circling around to rabbis and other Jewish leaders. Part of it said:

“The values of Torah and the virtues of the American tradition demand that we raise our voices against the fear-mongering and hate that have been directed at our fellow citizens…Invoking our shared Abrahamic heritage and our commitment to American values, we write today as leaders of the American Jewish community to affirm, in unequivocal terms, that we stand in solidarity with American Muslims.”

There are many more letters and petitions we haven’t read. In fact during the hearings, Rep. Loretta Sanchez submitted dozens of such letters from various groups to be included in the testimony.

Right now there’s a lot of people calling King the new McCarthy and the hearings the new witch-hunt. Frankly we’re not concerned with how King ends up in the history books.

We care more about how America lives out its promise, and the way Americans responded – through campaigns like “WhatUnitesUs” on twitter and the “Today, I am Muslim too” rally in New York – shows us who this country really is.

The wonderful thing about America is when somebody calls a hearing, we don’t have to be in the room to offer our own testimony.

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  • teddiecochran

    Should Congress Probe Muslim Radicalization?You bet they should along with every other radical group. Every radical group is a threat to not only the safety of every American but to the world as a whole. They bred violence and hatred; all too often these groups are responsible for acts of pure evil with one goal in mind… destruction for personal gain. I don’t care what religious belief they have… if they promote hatred and violence we as a world society, i.e. the human race, we need to stand our ground and stop these activities. Freedom never comes cheap just ask anyone who has ever fought for it…. We’re not fighting Islam here or any other religion. We are fighting evil pure and simple. As a society we are at a point where we either change the way we think, disciplining our minds to the teachings of Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness & Temperance or suffer as a whole for our complacency in allowing the Modernism, Secular Humanism, etc. teaching doctrines of the commandments of men. We are long overdue in getting back on course with the principles in which our Constitution was founded. If we do not we will die as a Society and Country. We can either live a life where we don’t allow evil to prevail period regardless of race, religion or creed, or suffer the consequences of allowing evil to exist, living our lives in fear, hatred and misery. Theodore – Oroville, CA

  • rambollini-1

    Ellison cried because he suffers from the Three B Syndrome, Bred, Born and Brainwashed in his religion.There is a quick cure:There never was and there will never be any angels to include Gabriel. No Gabriel, No Islam!!

  • abrahamhab1

    If anything that hearing documented what we have known for a long time: the imams of the mushrooming mosques that most are built by Wahabi oil money are preaching the Wahabi extremist views. Those so-called imams are intimidating whoever wishes to notify authorities about young men from their communities travelling abroad to places like Somalia and Yemen to train on how to terrorize America. In another words those mostly Wahabi officials are aiding and abetting potential terrorists, and some have the audacity to label those hearings as “witch hunt”.

  • clearthinking1

    Eboo, your agenda is hanging out again for all to see.You wrote: “in the days after 9/11, you couldn’t say “Muslim” without having it followed by “terrorist.”Really? Or is this just more of Eboo playing defense by playing offense. American are a tolerant people. Imperfect but tolerant. Even after 9/11, there was not rioting, no violence, only calls for calm by American leaders.Contrast this with Islamic societies. Yes, you know the answer.NOW. Who is it that talks about the “Muslim community”, the “Muslim Ummah”, the “Muslim people”, the “Muslim state”, and most importantly the “Muslim god – Allah”?It is Muslims like you. You constantly refer to Muslims, whether American or not, as one people. YOU are the one who lumps the people together based on Islam – superseding all other identities.Muslims are the one who proclaim every day the shahada: “There is no other god but Allah.”S0 don’t blame others when they ask you to step up and speak up more to stop so many of your “brother muslims” who kill.Stop the crocodile tears and stop the strawman arguments, unless your only agenda is to be an apologist for islam no what crime is committed in the name of Islam.

  • clearthinking1

    Eboo,You should be more honest like Asra Nomani. Read her reasonable and intelligent article, especially when juxtaposed with yours. Asra knows your issues and your game and writes:Now, tell us again why Ellison cried.