Long Island Faith Leaders Ask King To Call Off Muslim Hearings

peter king american flag Long Island Faith Leaders Ask King To Call Off Muslim HearingsOver 80 faith leaders from across Long Island sent a letter to Congressman Peter King yesterday urging him to call off the hearings on “Muslim radicalization” that he has planned for next month.

They write: 

Let us remember the lessons of history. Entire communities should never be targeted for suspicion of disloyalty. During World War II, Japanese Americans were deprived of their rights and forced into internment camps because of blanket distrust of their commitment to our country. The McCarthy hearings became a shameful national spectacle that falsely impugned the loyalty and destroyed the lives of many Americans. Catholics were once demonized as threats to democracy beholden to a foreign power. Jews and African Americans have faced centuries of suspicion and prejudice. Today, Muslim-Americans in many communities face fierce opposition when they propose to build mosques and worship peacefully. A growing number of Muslims are victims of hate crimes. This bigotry and discrimination, rooted in fear and ignorance, diminishes us all and unfairly maligns Americans who teach our children, serve our country, live peacefully and believe in the American dream.

The leader is signed by the heads of various Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu religious organizations.

Asked to respond, King said he would not dissuaded.

“I am disappointed that these religious leaders and peace advocates wish to obstruct my search for the truth. Obviously, I am going forward with my hearings into Muslim radicalization.”

Although a recent poll showed that a majority of Americans favored King’s hearings, it is unclear how popular they are in his home community.

Meanwhile, in other Muslim-radicalization hearings related news, Salon approves of the hiring of James Gordon Meek, and says that the hearings are creeping towards responsibility.

Full letter below:

Dear Representative Peter King,

 

As religious leaders and people of faith across Long Island, we stand together to express our profound concern about the Congressional hearings you have proposed to investigate the Muslim-American community. We fear this effort will only further divide our community and undermine our nation’s highest ideals. We urge you to cancel these hearings.

 

Protecting our nation requires allegiance to the fundamental values that give life to our democracy. A commitment to pluralism and respect for diversity are strengths in the fight against terrorism. We agree that law enforcement must find practical solutions to stop terrorism, whether these threats come from religious or non-religious extremists.  Muslim-Americans have consistently denounced terrorism and worked closely with law enforcement to prevent violence. Building and maintaining trust with the Muslim community is crucial to furthering this cooperation, and we fear your hearings will only sow greater distrust and division at a time when unity and moral courage are needed.

 

A more constructive approach to strengthening the bonds of trust that bolster our security and protect our values would be convening a dialogue among faith leaders, law enforcement and elected officials such as yourself. It is with a spirit of goodwill and sincere hope that we propose beginning such an initiative with you.  

 

Let us remember the lessons of history. Entire communities should never be targeted for suspicion of disloyalty. During World War II, Japanese Americans were deprived of their rights and forced into internment camps because of blanket distrust of their commitment to our country. The McCarthy hearings became a shameful national spectacle that falsely impugned the loyalty and destroyed the lives of many Americans. Catholics were once demonized as threats to democracy beholden to a foreign power. Jews and African Americans have faced centuries of suspicion and prejudice. Today, Muslim-Americans in many communities face fierce opposition when they propose to build mosques and worship peacefully. A growing number of Muslims are victims of hate crimes. This bigotry and discrimination, rooted in fear and ignorance, diminishes us all and unfairly maligns Americans who teach our children, serve our country, live peacefully and believe in the American dream.

 

Last month, our nation was shocked by a savage shooting spree in Arizona. This brazen attack killed or injured fellow Americans, including your colleague in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. As we mourn together in the wake of this painful tragedy, leaders of both parties have called for an elevated civic dialogue that transcends fear-mongering and polarization. These hearings are unworthy of that noble goal.

 

Rev. Mark Lukens, O.C.C.

Pastor, Bethany United Church of Christ

Chair, The Interfaith Alliance
Long Island Chapter

 

Rev. Gregory J. Cappuccino

Pastor

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Wantagh, NY

 

Rabbi Joshua Lobel

Temple Chaverim

Plainview, NY

 

Rev. D. James French, S.J.

Pastor and Superior of the Jesuit Community
St. Anthony’s Parish
Oceanside, NY

 

Rev. William F. Brisotti

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church,

Wyandanch, NY

 

Sister Jeanne Clark, OP

Coordinator of Pax Christi Long Island

West Islip, NY

 

Sister Rosalie A. Carven, CSJ

West Babylon, NY

 

Sr. Alice McVey CSJ

Social Ministry Coordinator

Our Lady of Grace Church

West Babylon, NY

 

Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ

St. Joseph’s Convent

Brentwood, NY

 

S. Kerry Handal, CSJ

St. Joseph Convent

Brentwood, NY

 

Rev. Chloe Breyer

Interfaith Center of New York

 

Lisa Sharon Harper

New York Faith & Justice

 

Sister Marie Danaher, O.P.
Pastoral Associate
Sacred Heart Parish

North Merrick, NY

 

Sister Mary Ann Crimmins

Our Lady of Grace Convent

West Babylon, NY

 

M. Athar Suhail

President

Masjid Darul Qur’an

The Muslim Center of Long Island

 

Rabbi Michael A. White
Senior Rabbi
Temple Sinai of Roslyn

Roslyn Heights, NY

 

Habeeb U. Ahmed
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Islamic Center of Long Island
Westbury, NY
Commissioner
Human Rights Commission
Nassau County

 

Rabbi Michael S. Churgel, RJE

Temple Beth Elohim

Old Bethpage, NY

 

Sister Barbara Gooding, OSU

Ursuline Sister of Tildonk

Brentwood, Long Island

 

Sister Eugenia Calabrese CSJ

Congregation of St. Joseph

Brentwood, Long Island

 

Sister Mary Beth Moore, SC

Sister of Charity
Wantagh, NY

 

Miriam H. Corr
Sister of St. Joseph
Brentwood, NY

 

Rabbi Irwin A. Zeplowitz

The Community Synagogue

Port Washington, NY

 

Rev. JoAnn Barrett
Gathering of Light Multifaith Spiritual Fellowship
Dix Hills, NY

 

Tahir Qureshi
Chairman Board of Trustees
Islamic Association of Long Island
Selden, NY

 

Nancy Dwyer

Pax Christi Long Island

Valley Stream, NY

 

Mary Hughes OP

Prioress

Sisters of St. Dominic

Amityville, NY

 

Richard Tibbets

Recording Secretary

The Interfaith Alliance
Long Island Chapter

Floral Park, NY

 

Dolores Tibbets

Treasurer

The Interfaith Alliance
Long Island Chapter

Floral Park, NY

 

Rev. Angela Cesa

Albertson, NY 

 

Luis Valenzuela

Executive Director

Long Island Immigrant Alliance

Amityville, NY

 

Rabbi Randy Sheinberg

Temple Tikvah

New Hyde Park, NY

 

Martin Melkonian,

Department of Economics

Hofstra University

 

Iqbal M. Chaudhry
President Elect

IALI (Selden Mosque)

Coram, NY

 

Syed Khalid

Scientist, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Upton, NY

 

Mara Bard

Coordinator of the Long Island School of the Americas Watch

Nassau Chapter.

Baldwin, NY

 

Richard Sackett 

Suffolk Progressive Vision

Moriches, NY

 

Rathi Raja

Hindu Faith

Manhasset, Long Island 

 

Karen Sackett

Suffolk Progressive Vision

Veterans for Peace Long Island 

Moriches, NY

 

Nina Uchida E. 

Women In Black
South Country Peace Group

Bellport, NY

 

Eve Sokol 

Women in Black

South Country Peace Group

Bellport, NY

 

Bill Kokell  

Veterans For Peace Long Island

South Country Peace Group

Bellport, NY

 

Margaret Melkonian

Pax Christi LI Council Member

Director

Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives

Garden City, NY

 

Sheila Croke

Administrator

Pax Christi Long Island

Greenlawn, NY

 

Peter Kingsley

Huntington Station, NY

 

Barbara Kingsley

Huntington Station, NY

 

Charlotte Koons

Northport, NY

 

Ben Bortin

Staten Island, NY

 

Shirley Romaine

Great Neck, NY

 

Stanley Romaine

Great Neck, NY

 

Rosemarie Zacchi

Suffolk Peace Network

 

RuthClaire Weintraub

Huntington Station, NY

 

Heather Cottin

Freeport, NY

 

Arlene Holmes

Kings Park, NY

 

Gretchen Haynes

Northport, NY

Religious Society of Friends [Quaker]

 

Gary Kelly

Massapequa Park, NY

 

Agnes Kelley

Massapequa Park, NY

 

Rev. Larry D. Jennings, Sr.

Pastor

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Huntington, NY

 

Rabbi Jeffrey Clopper

Temple Beth El

Huntington, NY

 

Shaik Ubaid, MD

Co-chair

New York Chapter

Muslim Peace Coalition, USA

 

Seemi Ahmed

Co-Chair

Muslim Peace Coalition

Albertson, NY

 

Anne Cimino

Pax Christi, LI

Freeport, NY

 

Larry McNally
Northport, NY

 

Bishop Georges Franck

Huntington Station, NY

 

Sonia Palacio-Grottola

Commack, NY

 

Arfa Khan MD, FACR
Professor of Radiology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Chief of Thoracic Radiology
Long Island Jewish Medical Center
New Hyde Park, NY

 

Rev. David Czeisel
Dix Hills, NY

E. Russell
Dix Hills United Methodist Church
Dix Hills, NY

 

Deron Ozley
Dix Hills United Methodist Church
Dix Hills, NY

 

Richard Koubek, PhD

Chair, Roundtable for the Common Good

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church

Wyandanch, NY 

 

Marcia Specht

Huntington Station, NY

 

Ed Roldan

Long Island Latino Teachers Association

Chairperson, Public Relations Committee

Bay Shore, NY

 

Suffolk County Interfaith Anti-Bias Task Force

 

Joan Ryan

St. Joseph’s College

Patchogue, NY

 

Charles Wittman

 

Josephine Girardin

 

Karen Martinez

 

Claire Z. Bock

 

Vera Weiss

 

Sister Patricia Grant CSJ

 

Audrey Korth