State Senate Democrats are out with a release today blasting Republican lawmaker Greg Ball for holding a hearing which they claim is designed to “isolate and villify Muslims.”
The hearing, called “Reviewing our Preparedness: An Examination of New York’s Public Protection Ten Years After September 11″ will be held Friday at 250 Broadway in Manhattan and will feature Nonie Darwish, a human rights activist who has attracted a good deal of controversy for her views on Islam, particularly the idea that the religion teaches its adherents to hate non-believers and to subjugate women.
The Democrats also blasted Senator Ball for inviting Frank Gaffney, a columnist who has questioned if Barack Obama was born in the United States. Ball said that Gaffney, in fact, will not attend.
“They are not people who are experts in security,” said Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn. “They are folks who have developed their name by spending their time criticizing and attacking Islam, which is not where we think we ought to be as a legislature.”
Washington was roiled by a similar issue when Long Island Congressman Peter King held a hearing about Muslims complicity in terrorist plots. Critics said that the hearing was wrong to focus on just one religious group.
Parker, who said he represents the largest Muslim Pakistani community outside of Pakistan, added, “When you look at his line-up this looks more like a Peter King attack on Islam than it is a valid investigation of New York’s ability to protect itself from a terrorist attack.”
Asked to respond, Ball accused Parker and his colleagues of playing politics over a serious issue, and said that they rebuffed his efforts to invite whomever they would like to speak.
“As chairman of the committee I bent over backwards requesting input for several weeks on who they would like to see be at the hearing,” he said. “Instead of antagonistically trying to generate press he should go back to my original request for input so we can do our best for New York State and New York City.”
He said that Congressman King and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly are also slated to testify, and he defended the presence of Darwish.
“We have to understand who our enemy is, and we have to understand the culture of jihad and get beyond the feel-good politics of political correctness and have New Yorkers have a clear look at people who want to destroy our city and our state.”