Because the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act of 2007 has been around for nearly five years, 400 members of Congress signed onto it in 2009, and it absolutely anticipated that radicalization, however they were going to define it, was not limited to any one religious, ethnic, political or cultural group (though one reason I was writing about the Act in the past was to say that I perceived that to be cover anyway).
Yet U.S. Representative Peter King is refusing to expand the hearings he has scheduled for this week beyond an inquiry into “radical Muslims.”
I’ve been writing about that 2007 legislation since…oh yeah, 2007. Now read the definition that concerned and convinced nearly the entire U.S. House of Representatives enough that they approved creating an entity to, in fact, examine the issue of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism:
[California Democratic Rep., Jane] Harman’s bill would convene a 10-member national commission to study“violent radicalization” (defined as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change”) and “homegrown terrorism” (defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States […] to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”).
The bill also directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate a “center of excellence,” a university-based research center where academics, policy-makers, members of the private sector and other stakeholders can collaborate to better understand and prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. [my emphasis above]
King’s omission of looking at this topic in general and instead only focusing on Muslims isn’t wrong just because of its targeting, but it is wrong and dangerous because of the false sense of who he wants people to think are responsible for radical acts in our country, and the backgrounds of people who are actually responsible for radical acts in our country.
I stood against that act before and I believe King’s reiteration of this kind of inquiry shows just how inappropriately such a thing could be used.
This is dangerous, dangerous stuff to which we’re subjecting Americans – both those of us in the gallery and the exclusive ones King is planning to question.