Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pete King (NY-03) takes money from Mosque then calls them terrorists.

Congressman Peter King (NY-03), facing the toughest electoral challenge of his career, has once again turned to the kind of divisive politics that have become his trademark of late. While trying to smear his opponent with charges of ties to terrorism, the fourteen-year incumbent appears to have put his foot in his mouth, managing to alienate and offend the Islamic community and open himself up to charges of hypocrisy and possibly lying all in one fell swoop.

On Sept 7th, King sent a letter to Jewish constituents in his district voicing his “concerns” about a local Islamic Center that he claimed was engaging in “radical and extremist rhetoric” and preaching that the “CIA and ‘Zionists’ were responsible for 9-11.” But these concerns were overshadowed by what King believed was a more pressing problem. These “extremist” according to King were trying to take an “active political role”… by “supporting (his) opponent in this years election.” King stated that as the Chairmen of the Homeland Security Committee it is his job “to protect America from Islamic terrorist” and he felt compelled to let the voters know about the “terrorists” in their mist and the “involvement of radical Islam in the campaign against (him)".

But there’s one little problem for King. He not only accepted sizable contributions from the Mosque's leadership for his current campaign, he’s had a long and friendly relationship with the Center and it's leaders going back for years. He’s contribute to a book about the Mosque, visited in the homes of it’s leaders on numerous occasions, and even attended the wedding of one of it’s leaders sons.

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At first, Kings letter garnered outrage from both the Muslim community and his opponent, Dave Mejias, who posted up details of King’s controversial letter at the popular Democratic blog, Daily Kos, in hopes of raising awareness of his opponents dirty trick. But for the most part the mainstream press has avoided the story.

Now further details of the affair have become available in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Learning Center of Long Island’s Chairmen of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Farouque Khan, obtained by KingWatch, a local watchdog group.

In the interview, published on the groups blog, Dr. Kahn, of the Westbury NY based Mosque, goes into great detail about both his and the Mosques long-standing relationship with the Congressman, and his theories as to why King has chosen to attack the Mosque at the present time.

King Watch: How long have you known Rep. Peter King?

Dr. Khan: Since he was first elected, I believe in 1992 when I visited him, after that he visited my home($$$$), the mosque several times, including a book discussion of his first novel--Terrible Beauty-in which he describes the evolution of IRA and "Bernadette Hanlon" a housewife who becomes a 'terrorist' after her family suffers at the hands of the British etc.
On Aug 13 2001,he wrote on this book: "To Dr Faroque Khan--with my thanks for your friendship--All the best."
This pretty much covers our pre 9/11 relationship, cordial, professional, he sometimes called me and sought my views regarding medical questions and his chief of staff Gene Turner was in regular communication.
Congressman King attended my son's wedding reception as well. I also visited him in Washington when I was part of American College of Physicians-ACP- delegation and shared some ACP proposals regarding healthcare with him.

King Watch: King's comments about the 85% of Mosques being run by "extremists" coincided with the release of his book about muslim terrorists. Do you think his attacks on american-muslims was to increase his media presence and promote his book?

Dr. Khan: For well over a year post 9/11 2001 I was receiving regular mailings and responses from Cong King, his attacks and statements seemed to 'coincide' with the release of his book. If he was aware of statements from me or other's post 9/11 why did he wait for well over a year before speaking out??.

King Watch: King has made charges against you citing an incident at Temple Beth El in October 2001. He says attendees walked out while ou were speaking. What exactly happened and why is King saying differently?

Dr. Khan: As per Rabbi Jerome Davidson, a family left the sanctuary while I was speaking as they were running late for an event to celebrate a kid's birthday etc.
Rabbi Davidson stated this in a letter he wrote to Newsday in 2004 and incidentally Cong King was not present at that event.

King Watch: King contributed to your book "Story of a Mosque in America," saying "My visit to ICLI was memorable couldn't help but be impressed with the work ethic, devotion to family and spiritual commitment so evident at the center. It has been gratifying for me to help build a political awareness in this, the fastest-growing religious group in America."
Why do you think Kings views have changed?

Dr. Khan: I am puzzled and have requested Cong. (King) several times to let us know what specifically is bothering him, he has not responded to several written and personal invites.

King Watch: According to FEC filings, King took contributions from you after his attack on the Islamic Center. Did he attempt to return the contribution?

Dr. Khan: No, and he received and kept a sizable donation from the current president of Islamic Center--Mr Habeeb Ahmed within the past few months, who also invited Congressman to visit and meet with ICLI executive and board.

King Watch: How do you feel about Peter King questioning your right to participate in the political process and those of other muslims?

Dr. Khan: He never questioned our rights in the past, in fact his chief of staff Gene Turner gave a session at the ICLI some years ago on how to become effective citizens.

Read the entire interview at: KingWatch

This is not the first time King has relied upon the politics of division.

As a co-sponsor of the House’s draconian anti-immigration bill, HR4437, King faced questions from both the Catholic Church and the Hispanic community over measures in that bill that would criminalize humanitarian aid givers and the undocumented immigrants they help.

Earlier this year King, along with fellow anti-immigration advocate, Rep. Steven King (IA), tried to block the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on the grounds of their opposition to the bilingual ballot provisions contained in the landmark civil rights legislation.

In August of this year the Long Island Congressman called for the use of ethnic and racial profiling in airport security. “Declaring that airport screeners shouldn't be hampered by "political correctness …King has endorsed requiring people of "Middle Eastern and South Asian" descent to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion.”

Then just this last week, King sponsored the House legislation to build 700 miles of wall along the US/Mexico border to prevent to flow of undocumented immigrants into the country. An action widely criticized by immigrants rights advocates and Hispanic leaders.

All of these actions have one underlying theme running through them. Kings unswerving dedication to using race, ethnicity, and religion as divisive weapons in his quest to retain power and influence.

Ironically, King who was placed under surveillance by both the United States and Great Britain for his rabid support of the IRA and his connections to US based groups funneling guns and money to the Irish terror group, is now so quick to label his political opposition and all Muslims in general as having ties to terrorist activity.

Maybe it’s just King’s guilty conscience, for having aided in the death and destruction that went on for so many years on both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland, that has him now seeing terrorists behind every corner. Unfortunately, it appears that many innocent people might have to pay the price for Mr. Kings troubled soul.

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