Photo by Steven Cuevas/KPCC
Throughout the day, Muslim and Middle Eastern community leaders around the country have been coming forward to express relief over the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday during a targeted mission by U.S. forces in Pakistan. Some have also expressed a sense of hope.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, orchestrated by bin Laden, set off a chain reaction that to this day has left American Muslims reeling, from an early hate crime wave to anti-mosque protests to, just recently, a House hearing on the "extent of radicalization" among Muslims in the United States.
Several of those quoted today expressed optimism that bin Laden's death will mark a turning point for the larger U.S. Muslim community, much of it composed of immigrants, that for several years now has felt misunderstood and under scrutiny.
Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A view of the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, CA, November 2009
The news of last Friday's earthquake in Japan all but obscured what had been some of the biggest news of the previous day, the first hearing of a planned series in the House Committee on Homeland Security on the “extent of radicalization” among American Muslims, led by committee chair and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.
Muslim groups and other minority organizations condemned the hearings as xenophobic; King defended them as “absolutely essential.” Prior to the first hearing March 10 (the next one has not been scheduled), KPCC’s Public Insight Network sent out a series of questions to members of its audience, inviting Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on the hearings.
By last Friday morning, the House hearing had quickly fallen off the news radar, but people continued to respond. The majority were Muslim, though Christian and Jewish respondents answered the questions as well. Here are some excerpts from their responses.
Photo by Steven Cuevas/KPCC
Harmoush at a Temecula planning commission hearing, December 2010
Today marked the first hearing in the House Committee on Homeland Security on the "extent of radicalization" among American Muslims, led by committee chair and New York Republican Rep. Peter King.
The hearings, which were broadcast on C-SPAN, began at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time, not the best time for West Coast viewers. But those who have followed the story have strong opinions about the gist of the hearings nonetheless. Among them is Imam Mahmoud Harmoush of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, which last year drew heated opposition and protesters to the Riverside County wine region over its plans to build a larger facility a few miles away, by a Baptist church. The project received city approval recently.
Yesterday, Harmoush was among those who responded to a query from KPCC’s Public Insight Network inviting local Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on today’s hearings. He agreed to allow his response to be published.