Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 10, 2011

Inquiring about (radicalizing) Islam: Answering authentic questions?

Filed under: Congress and HLS,Radicalization — by Philip J. Palin on March 10, 2011

I expect Chairman King well understands the stakes.  He is an experienced, wily, and — at times — even a wise man.

There is great value in the authentic question — no matter how awkward — because an authentic question is open to new understanding.

The method of Socrates had no script.  It was a high wire act. The wisest of all could still stumble over preconceived notions, private prejudices, and Plato’s own purposes imposed post-hoc.

An authentic question need not be innocent, but it does require a spacious susceptibility to honest answers and (especially) to being surprised.

Each of us who listened today will likely judge Chairman King, the committee’s other members, and each witness in light of our own intent, our own innocence, our own authenticity… or in the dimness and darkness thereof.

I have lost my taste for the politics of these events.  Many others are offering their thoughts on that (linked below).

See if you share my sense of hearing an interesting answer to the committee’s questions (and comments) in these words written seventy years ago:

Now more than ever, when torches and snare-drum
Excite the squat women of the saurian brain
Till a milling mob of fears
Breaks in insultingly on anywhere, when in our dreams
Pigs play on the organs and the blue sky runs shrieking
As the Crack of Doom appears,

Are the good ghosts needed with the white magic
Of their subtle loves. War has no ambiguities
Like a marriage; the result
Required of its affaire fatale is simple and sad.
The physical removal of all human objects
That conceal the Difficult.

Then remember me that I may remember
The test we have to learn to shudder for is not
An historical event,
That neither the low democracy of a nightmare nor
An army’s primitive tidiness may deceive me
About our predicament,

That catastrophic situation which neither
Victory nor defeat can annul; to be
Deaf yet determined to sing,
To be lame and blind yet burning for the Great Good Place,
To be radically corrupt yet mournfully attracted
By the Real Distinguished Thing…

Into this city from the shining lowlands
Blows a wind that whispers of uncovered skulls
And fresh ruins under the moon.
Of hopes that will not survive the secousse of this spring
Of blood and flames, of the terror that walks by night and
The sickness that strikes at noon.

From By the Grave of Henry James by W. H. Auden.

Less poetic consideration of Thursday’s House Homeland Security Committee hearings:

Committee’s website with prepared testimony

Peter King’s Obsession (New York Times, editorial)

Homegrown Islamic Radicalization: Worth Studying (Washington Post, editorial)

Islamic Radicalization: The questions that Rep. Peter King is right to ask (Ruth Marcus, opinion)

The terrorist threat is real (Peter King, opinion)

Peter King defiant at tense Muslim hearing (Politico, news)

Witnesses at King hearing say US “failing” to confront radical Islam (FoxNews)

Islam show-trial opens in US Congress (Telegraph, news)

House hearing worries US Muslims (Al Jazerra, news)

Congressman defends panel on US Muslim community amid national uproar (Haaretz, news)

Republicans and Democrats disagree on Muslim hearings (Gallup, survey results)

Friday morning update:

The homegrown terror hearings (Wall Street Journal, opinion)

King: Next hearing is on Muslims in prison (AP, news)

Tears, fears at hearing on Muslims (The Hill, news)

Local Muslims slam hearings as unfair, unbalanced (Detroit Free Press, news)

Cries of McCarthyism over US Muslim hearing (Independent, news)

Spectre of McCarthy hangs over hearing into radicalization of American Muslims (The Australian, news)

Muslim hearings in US Congress dismissed as equivalent of reality TV (The Guardian, news)

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Comment by William R. Cumming

March 10, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

What kind of legislation would KING support on radicalization?

Comment by john comiskey

March 10, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

The US must engage the Muslim Community and in the case of homegrown terrorism and radicalization the US Muslim Community

The Muslim community must engage representative rule and in the best case democracy.
In the case of the American Muslim community, they must engage and participate in American society.
If not the cannons of dissension and war will roar.

NYPD’s Radicalization in the West is instructive:

Similar to loners who are attracted to cults, embittered/unstable Muslims are being recruited and radicalized by more embittered and certainly unstable terrorists who maliciously recruit vulnerable soldiers in their ill-gotten jihad.

Rep. King’s hearings are appropriate. At a minimum we’re talking.

I pray that America and the world will respectfully engage Islam.

I pray that moderate Islamics [those that renounce violence, oppression, and intolerance] will take a proactive role in embracing American society.

Comment by Muslim Americans

March 11, 2011 @ 6:07 am

I agree John that the hearings are appropriate, yet sensitive, very sensitive and I am sorry to see the inevitable media attention for the concerns and issues must be discussed, however not to be politicized or abused by the media for while even one incident can involve many lives affected, given the “stats” on the number of internal threats identified, planned attacks or in fact, actual successful attacks, the percentage of those participating in the American Islamic community are few, very few and those in the American Islamic community are as much concerned against any actions taken against the America they love as Muslim Americans as their families are as vulnerable as anyone else…I see much tolerance here on Main Street USA, however less on the streets of Europe and far more such tensions will erupt throughout Europe for certain….

We must not insult the community at large, fellow Americans, our melting pot, however we must all as Americans understand that we areat peril from so many differing platforms that this must be discussed and I just hope the media can address any such reporting and commentary in a responsible manner….

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