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Petition against Peter King's Hearings Targeting American Muslims

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To Whom It May Concern:

During the 1942 build-up to the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans, a high-ranking official expressed his suspicion of Japanese American loyalty—in a testimony to the Congress, he stated: “A Jap’s a Jap” and went on to say,

I don't want any of them [persons of Japanese ancestry] here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty... It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen, he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily determine loyalty... But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.

Today, all Americans condemn the actions taken against Japanese Americans and the vilification of a people based solely on fear and blind hate. Since then, every generation of Americans has vowed to never allow such an atrocity to transpire again.  

However, according to Representative Peter King of New York, “85 percent of mosques in America are ruled by the extremists… This is an enemy living amongst us." King’s assertion is baseless—he speaks out of a fundamental prejudice against a diverse people who are innocent of the allegations with which they have been maligned and vilified. Rep. King has since called for hearings that began on Thursday, March 10, 2011 under the title: "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response." The premise of the hearing is that American Muslims are being radicalized and that those who are not are still guilty of not doing enough to curb homegrown terrorism. While American Muslims faced waves of anti-Islamic sentiment in the past, this is perhaps the most blatant example of Islamophobia to date—and the most divisive. Many have predicted that the hearing will lead to an escalation of anti-Muslim violence and sentiment in the United States because the hearings presuppose that only American Muslims are disposed to terrorism and radicalization. We do not accept this sort of discrimination and prejudgment toward any other group in America today—why then is it acceptable to harbor unfounded prejudices and to demonize American Muslims? We urge you to support our petition requesting the modification of the premise of these hearings to allow for debate on this important topic.

According to a recent study based on FBI figures, only 6% of domestic terrorism on US soil between 1980 and 2005 can be traced to Muslims. The undersigned organizations and individuals share the concern of the Muslim Student Association of Princeton University about the rise of suspicion about the “Americanness” of Muslims in the United States. The targeting of American Muslims during this hearing violates core American values.

Making outlandish statements about a radical Islamic undercurrent among some or all American Muslims is an extreme and inaccurate position to take. Also, the argument that American Muslims are unwilling to cooperate to a sufficient extent on counterterrorism efforts is baseless given that, according to a study, “in exposing alleged terrorist plots, ‘the largest single source of initial information (48 of 120 cases) involved tips from the Muslim American community.’" Blaming Islam itself for radicalization is also the very definition of flagrant and harmful discrimination.

Representative King’s prejudices and destructive, racist rhetoric must not spread. Please join us in urging Rep. King to revise the premise of the hearings to end the targeting of American Muslims.


Princeton University Muslim Students Association


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