Despite rain that poured down on Times Square, hundreds of interfaith activists gathered on Sunday to protest Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) plan to hold congressional hearings on radicalization within the Muslim community this week. The protest, titled, "Today I am A Muslim Too" was led by hip-hop artist Russell Simmons ,who was joined by a coterie of religious and political leaders, including the only two Muslim members of Congress.
Rep. Mike Honda of California compared the steps that King was taking to the political failures that led to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Over the weekend, the White House also sent an adviser, Denis McDonough, to an interfaith gathering of Muslims. "In the United States we don't practice guild by association," The The New York Times reported McDonough saying.
King's call for the hearings, at a time when the Arab world is rocked by demonstrations -- young Muslims calling for freedom and liberty in streets everywhere from Libya to Bahrain -- appears to place the United States and its political leaders deeply out of touch with Islam both within the United States and across the world.