The press around Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of the Muslim community is heating up. As I wrote on Monday, the hearings make us appear out of touch with the larger, worldwide conversation around Islam. But there's something far more disturbing about these hearings possibly stoking the fires of intolerance.
This past weekend two elderly, retired Sikh men were gunned down in a suburban neighborhood in Sacramento. Nothing was stolen, and the men, in their late seventies and sixties, were taking a slow walk through their neighborhood as was their habit. The police in Sacramento have notified the FBI and say there's a possibility of investigating this as a hate crime since no other known motive exists for the killing. Sikhs with their beards and turbans have suffered prosecution since 9-11 as many mistake them for Taliban. Either way the act is shocking in its senseless violence and brutality.
It's incidences like this that require our politicians to take stock of what their actions mean in a larger socio-cultural context. As Bob Herbert put it so eloquently today:
The great danger of these hearings, in addition to undermining fundamental American values, is that for no good reason — nearly a decade after the terrible attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — they will intensify the already overheated anti-Muslim feeling in the U.S. There is nothing wrong with the relentless investigation of terrorism. That’s essential. But that is not the same as singling out, stereotyping and harassing an entire community.
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