—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
Washington, D.C.- 03/13/2011- The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a national coalition of major Muslim organizations, today repudiated Congressman Peter King’s “religious McCarthyism” and expressed its “full support for and solidarity with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).”
Commenting on the observation made by a Washington Post staff writer that “If King’s hearing was about anything, it was about trying to empower a different group of Muslim leaders,” AMT Chair, Dr. Agha Saeed said: “People can always tell who their real leaders are, even when Nelson Mandela is imprisoned on the charges of ‘terrorism’ and Chief Mangosthu Buthelezi is appointed as the chief minister of the Bantustan of KwaZulu.”
AMT said in a statement: “It is obvious that Congressman King’s hearing was intended to malign CAIR. We repudiate all such attempts and stand in solidarity with CAIR.
“We thank fellow Americans, notably Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Al Green, Rep. John Dingell, and Rep. Danny Davis, for their courage of conviction in rejecting Congressman King’s religious McCarthyism. His agenda-driven hearing was a planned assault on the U.S. Constitution that failed.
“While the vacuity of these hearings has been summed up by the Washington Post in its headline: ‘Rep Peter King’s Muslim hearing: Plenty of drama, less substance,’ the discriminatory nature of these hearings was highlighted by the New York Times as ‘Terror Hearing Puts Lawmakers in Harsh Light.’
“It was pointed out by several members of congress that these hearings were not based on any independent scholarly research on the subject and the witnesses did not possess any expertise to qualify their generalizations.
“Past efforts to marginalize target groups have always included a number of key elements, including seeking to replace authentic leadership with handpicked individuals, undermining legitimate major institutions and organizations, controlling agendas, promoting internal divisions, and denying access to mainstream media and government institutions.
“While we reaffirm our opposition to all forms of individual, group and state terrorism, and while we reiterate our commitment to help keep America safe, we also want to unequivocally state that it is for Muslim Americans to decide who their leaders are. No one else — neither the U.S. Congress nor the FBI — has the legal or moral right to make those decisions for us.”
AMT is an umbrella organization that includes American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society-Freedom (MAS-F), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and United Muslims of America (UMA).
CONTACT: AMT Chair Dr. Agha Saeed: firstname.lastname@example.org