John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The King Hearing

Posted on March 7, 2011
I am a big Peter King fan.  When I worked for the House Republican Leadership, I was a fellow traveler with him when it came to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.  I agreed with him on engagement with Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams, and I worked with him on many things Irish, particularly when I worked for Speaker Hastert.

King, a former boxer when he was at Notre Dame Law School, can be a pugnacious guy.  He is a brawler.  He fights hard for his constituents.  And he is protective of them.  When he ascended to the top of the Homeland Security Committee, you just knew he was going to do everything to go after those people who have threatened his constituents in the past.

That is why he is moving forward on this hearing in his committee on the possible threats that have come from radical Islam within the U.S.  As King himself says, that is not an indictment of all of Islam.  Liberals have tried to portray the Congressman as some sort of anti-Islamic racist, which, of course, he is not.

But we have been fighting a worldwide war against radical Islam, started, by the way, by radical Islamists.  9/11 was not the only time radical Islamists targeted Americans in America; it was only the most spectacular example.  But the September 11th attacks hit Peter King’s constituents hard, and he is going to do all he can to stop it from happening again.

That being said, the story in America is really a pretty good story.  We don’t have the problems here in the U.S. that they have in Germany, France, Great Britain, India, Russia or China.  The Muslim population is not as radical here as it is over in those locations.  Muslims have more money here than they do over there.  Their numbers aren’t as significant here as they are over there, and the divisions within the Muslim community don’t really play out here as much as it does over in the Middle East, for example.

America is a great and free marketplace for religion.  Here in America, new religions (Mormonism, Scientology) crop up all the time, with very little government regulation.  Muslim leaders know that their religion must compete in this marketplace, and while some Mullahs prefer to preach radical hate, others know that that message only has limited appeal, and is not a prescription for growth.  That may explain why only a few Mosques have a real problem with radical Islam.

America is also a land where it is possible to gain greater prosperity and political influence through hard work and entrepreneurship.  That means that there aren’t many excuses for people not to succeed.  Radical jihad works best when the only alternative is hopelessness (i.e. Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen etc).  America is still the place where dreams come true to those who work hard.  If you have any doubt, look at what Muslims are doing in Detroit, a city that is being revitalized by the hard work of the Arab population there.

King’s hearing is important.  There is an element of radical Islam that is present here in the United States that needs to be confronted.  But the story of America’s Muslim population is different than the story in Europe or Asia.  And hopefully, that fuller story will also come out this week.