Fox News has aggressively promoted Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on “the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims,” including hosting King to promote his hearings while dismissing the concerns of protesters. In fact, many mainstream groups, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have expressed deep concerns with King's agenda, and experts say the hearings may be “counterproductive.”
Fox Hypes King's Hearings, Dismisses Protesters And Critics
Doocy: “Peter King Has A Good Point. If People Are Being Radicalized In Mosques In the United States, Why Not Find Out About It?” On the March 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts devoted several segments to promoting King's hearings and invited him on air to defend himself against his critics. No one who opposes King's hearings appeared on the show.
During the show's first segment on the hearings, co-host Steve Doocy said that King “has a good point” :
DOOCY: In fact, over the weekend, 1,000 people had a protest in Times Square to that -- there, we've got a little bit of the video. And a lot of members of the Muslim community were there and they said, OK, they're going to target us today and then the Jewish and then the Christian. Next thing you know by next week, they're going to turn out and they're going to close a synagogue or something like that. It's interesting, though. Because look, Peter King's got a good point. If people are being radicalized in mosques in the United States, why not find out about it? Have the investigation -- if they're not, let's find out about that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Carlson: “A Lot Of Christians Feel They've Been Marginalized In The Last Couple Years As Well.” Later during the first segment, co-host Gretchen Carlson said, “By the way, a lot of Christians feel they've been marginalized in the last couple years as well.” Doocy responded, “Not for terrorism. Just -- period,” and Carlson agreed. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Carlson: “I Don't Really Understand Why There Would Be Backlash [To The Hearings].” During the show's first segment on the hearings, Carlson said, “I don't really understand why there would be backlash [to the hearings],” while footage from the Times Square protest on March 6 was shown. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Kilmeade: “You Don't Think This Is Worthy ... Of A Spotlight To Examine?” Also during the first segment, co-host Brian Kilmeade said:
KILMEADE: Between 2009 and 2010, there's been 22 homegrown jihadist-inspired terrorist plots in the U.S. by U.S. citizens. You don't think this is worthy of Amer -- a spotlight to examine, to hash out, and bring forward where people in the Muslim community can come forward and say this is the real deal? For example, there's a lot of Muslims and people of the Islamic faith who came forward and thwarted plots by picking up the phone and calling the FBI and saying, “I've got some crazy guy in my -- in the midst -- in my midst here, you might as well pull him over.” That's what happened in Oregon recently. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Perino: “If There Was A Hearing On Radicalization Amongst Christianity, There Would Have Been No Protesters.” Later on Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dana Perino said that she thinks King is “doing the exact right thing” and claimed that “if there was a hearing on radicalization amongst Christianity,” there “would have been no protesters yesterday in Times Square, for sure.” Perino also falsely claimed that “all...the different terrorist attacks that we've had in our country in the last 15 to 20 years” have “one common theme, and it's radical Islam.” From the segment:
KILMEADE: I just don't understand because, Dana, as you know, there's a lot of people in the Muslim community who came forward. For example, the Oregon plot -- informed the FBI, there's someone in our midst that needs to be followed, the FBI gets involved and stops a Christmas -- a Christmas celebration from being bombed out. There's going to be situations like that, I understand, during these hearings in which [sic] Muslim community has rallied and stopped it. But there's been 22 different incidents in the last two years. I don't think you're doing your duty if you don't have this conference, because these are Muslim extremists. Not all Muslims.
PERINO: Well, imagine if there was a hearing on radicalization amongst Christianity. There would have been no protesters yesterday in Times Square --
CARLSON: Exactly. Exactly.
PERINO: For sure. And so I am glad that Peter King is doing it. I think he's doing the exact right thing. I think that Americans, if you were to, you know -- it's difficult to get out and get people to protest. You have to really care about it, so I'm not saying that the 1,000 people that showed up yesterday don't feel like they strongly have a point, but I also think we need to call a spade a spade.
PERINO: And in this case, the spade is, if you take a thread and you connect it all through the different terrorist attacks that we've had in our country in the last 15 to 20 years, they have one common theme, and it's radical Islam. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Carlson: “You'd Think, Congressman, Everyone Would Be Behind You On This.” Later during the show, the co-hosts interviewed King on the air about his upcoming hearings. At one point, Carlson said, “You think, congressman, everyone would be behind you on this. People were after 9-11, and yet it's become political this time around.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Johnson: The “Message That Should Go” Out From “All Of Us To Each Other With Regard To Terrorism, 'Today I'm An American First.'” Later during the show, Carlson brought on Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. to discuss King's hearings as well as White House security adviser Denis McDonough's recent comments at a mosque in Virginia. Johnson referred to the Times Square protesters' signs that read, “Today I am a Muslim, too,” and said that the “message that should go” out from “all of us” “with regard to terrorism [is], 'Today I'm an American first.'” Johnson further stated that the “hearings are a good idea.” From the segment:
JOHNSON: At the same time, we need to practice what we preach. To somehow demonize Peter King, to allow people to stand up and say, “Today I am a Muslim, too,” in some fashion as if Peter King, and the Republican Congress, and the Congress itself is bigoted, or jingoistic, or is hateful or hurtful toward the Muslim community, that's not smart and that's not fair for -
CARLSON: Well, it's reality. When you look at all the facts, and you look at all the different examples, which is we could go down even in just the last two years, sorry, the facts state that it's Muslim extremism, some of them radicalized right here in the U.S. that's causing this.
JOHNSON: Yes. It has to be done in a factual, objective way that gives rights to everyone in this country and respects the faiths of all people. There cannot be guilt by association, and I think Peter King would say that. There was a demonstration yesterday, and people were wearing buttons and saying, “Today I'm a Muslim, too.” The message that should go from the White House, from the Congress, and from all of us to each other with regard to terrorism, “Today I'm an American first.”
CARLSON: Of course.
JOHNSON: That is the message that goes out to the Jewish community, the Muslim community, the Christian community, every community of faith in the United States, that when it comes to seeing terrorism, we need to speak out about it, and there cannot be guilt by association. And I don't think anyone is preaching that. But the White House has to step up and take a strong position -- when you see something, say something. We didn't see that in McDonough's speech. Maybe implicitly, but not explicitly. And that's the message that we need to hear. The hearings are a good idea. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/7/11]
Fox Guest Zuhdi Jasser: King Showing “Excellent Courage” In Moving Forward With Hearings. On the March 7 edition of America's Newsroom, Martha MacCallum hosted Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim leader who is scheduled to testify during King's hearings, who stated that King has shown “excellent courage” and that King is not “targeting Muslims or the faith of Islam.” Jasser later stated that most American Muslim organizations are “soaking up the attention with civil rights issues, victimology, and they're not fixing the problem” of extremism. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/7/11]
MacCallum: “Everybody Should Care About” King's Hearings; “This Is Something That Is Very Important To Our Own Existence In This Country.” On the March 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum interviewed Rev. Al Sharpton about King's hearings. MacCullum said that King wants to “talk about something that is clearly a threat to our country” and said that "[e]verybody should care about" the hearings. From the show:
MacCALLUM: Here is the problem, though. Between May of '09 and November of 2010, you have a high concentration -- 43 homegrown violent jihadist plots or attacks in the United States. So, the problem is this issue is accelerating. And you can tick off, you know, on your hands the different instances -- you've got Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber; you have Faisal Shahzad in Times Square; you have Zazi, who tried to cross the bridge and blow up explosives in New York City. You have a number of examples that are all the same sort of thing -- people who live in this country who have been radicalized, and in many cases gone back to training camps in Pakistan and Yemen, and come back here to harm -- kill 14 people in that time period.
SHARPTON: But none of that has been in any way said that it's because of they're of the Islamic faith, and in that same period of time, we could talk about shootings on schools, shootings in malls. We could talk about --
MacCALLUM: Yeah, you're right, but -
SHARPTON: May I finish?
MacCALLUM: Reverend, let me just interject one thing here. Why is it not OK to just -- you're right, on another day, let's talk about school shootings. On this day, Peter King wants to get together and talk about something that is clearly a threat to our country. And Muslims, as, you know, Denis McDonough said over the weekend, should also be part of that solution, they should want to be part of that conversation, and say, “Hey, why are these situations happening? Why are our own children, in some cases, being taken overseas and trained to do violent acts on our own homeland?” Everybody should care about this and want to know.
SHARPTON: As I was trying to say, there's been any number of attacks that we could talk about during the same period of time. We are not in any way, shape, or form trying to go based on those religions and those groups. We ought to be dealing with, yes, Muslims ought to cooperate and everyone else ought to cooperate, they should look at all homeland terrorism and homeland attacks. We should not just have one group or one segment and say, let's look at Muslims, let's look at all of them, because we are all under threat, and we are not under threat based on someone's religion, we're [sic] based on some fanatic from all religions have done murderous and heinous acts in this country.
MacCALLUM: Yeah, but wouldn't you -- wouldn't it be a sad situation, you know, if this kind of thing continues to accelerate? Eric Holder says this is his biggest number one fear, the radicalization of young people in the United States to carry out these kind of acts. If that's what is keeping him up at night, as he himself said, doesn't it deserve -- you know, we've got so many hearings going on in Congress that, you know, many of which are, in many people's opinions, perhaps a complete waste of time. But this is something that is very important to our own existence in this country. Why not take it on and why not be able to not do it without being so perfectly politically correct about it? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/7/11]
Gaffney Suggests King's Hearings Are The Correct “Formula For Dealing With ... A Metastasizing Disease.” On the March 7 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly spoke to Fox News contributor and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, as well as Heather Hurlburt, executive director of the National Security Network. During the segment, Gaffney suggested that the hearings were “a formula for dealing with a disease -- a metastasizing disease, symptomatically” and that Hurlburt's suggestions of examining homeland security procedures more broadly are “the crazy way to do this.” From the broadcast:
GAFFNEY: This is obviously not the only hearing that Pete King will have. The idea that we can't do anything until we do everything is obviously not in the cards. We published a book back in November called Shariah: the Threat to America, which I think very clearly demonstrates Pete King is on the right track in starting what I hope will be a comprehensive set of hearings by looking at what is going on inside the Muslim community worldwide, but particularly here in America. And specifically, I hope what he will address is the role being played by organizations that the Muslim Brotherhood -- we're hearing a lot about it in Egypt at the moment and elsewhere in the Middle East, but it's here as well -- organizations that the Muslim Brotherhood itself has called “our organizations and organizations of our friends.”
To the extent, Megyn, that we are as a law enforcement community, as a national security community, as a homeland security community, as a society more generally, relying upon Muslim Brotherhood front organizations, like the Council on American Islamic Relations, like the Islamic Society of North America, like the Muslim Students Association, to help us with the problem that these kinds of extremists constitute -- it's crazy. It's like having the KGB advise us on how to deal with the Soviet Communist threat back in the Cold War.
KELLY: Is it -- what of that, Heather? Do you perceive that --
GAFFNEY: Pete King needs to look into this, and when they find out the truth, I hope that that will be the building block for a much more intensive, comprehensive set of hearings to come.
KELLY: What do you say to it, Heather? Is it -- is that unsupported rhetoric or is that something we really do need to worry about?
HURLBURT: Well, I think the first thing people need to know is that most of the organizations Frank justnamed off actually were welcomed guests at the Bush White House, so the idea that those organizations are somehow fronts for a threat to America, you know, is just a little, a little crazy, frankly. I mean, we do need to worry about --
GAFFNEY: It's not all. It's crazy that they were.
KELLY: -- homegrown terrorism. But we don't need to obscure -- you know, we need to worry about the real threat. You know, are we doing enough to make sure that nobody can buy enough fertilizer to blow something up? Are we fixing our visa systems the right way? Are we doing enough to make sure that when someone comes to law enforcement with a threat, it gets to the right place in time? There are lots of very serious oversight questions that Congressman King could be asking. But this just --
KELLY: She wants more of a focus on the building blocks to potential crimes, Frank, and not so much on, you know, one set of people who may or may not be intent on committing them.
GAFFNEY: Yeah, look, this is a formula for dealing with a disease -- a metastasizing disease, symptomatically. And that's clearly the crazy way to do this. As to these groups, she's right that these folks were welcomed into the Bush administration; they have been welcomed as well into this administration; before that, they were welcomed into the Clinton administration. And the problem is the Department of Justice demonstrated in federal court, using the Muslim Brotherhood's own documents, that these folks are working for the other side. They're part of the problem. [Fox News, America Live, 3/7/11]
Krauthammer: “The Overwhelming Majority Of The Terror Attacks in The World ... Is Because Of Islamism.... [It's] Not a Stereotype.” On the March 7 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said that it's “completely wrong and deeply cynical” to say that King's hearing “stigmatizes” Muslims. From the show:
SHANNON BREAM (guest host): Charles, [King] has taken a lot of heat for [these hearings].
KRAUTHAMMER: He is. And it -- and the administration, the Obama administration, added on to that heat with that statement that we saw [from McDonough] implying that it's Peter King who is stigmatizing and demonizing the entire community. I'll tell you who stigmatizes and demonizes the Muslim community -- the Fort Hood shooter who jumps on a table and shouts, “Allahu Akbar” as he shoots 13 American servicemen. That's a way to stigmatize and demonize a community. The Pakistani immigrant who becomes a naturalized American and plants a bomb in Times Square and proudly tells a judge he wanted to kill as many Americans as possible. Or Anwar al-Awlaki, the preacher in Yemen, who is a native American, and preaches in the Falls Church mosque to a couple of the 9-11 attackers, now in Yemen inciting people around the world to attack Americans.
Look, it is not stereotyping to say that the overwhelming majority of the terror attacks in the world, particularly at Americans, is because of Islamism. It's not the IRA, it's not the [Tamil] Tigers, it's not the Basque terrorists. There's a thread connecting them to political Islam. That is a fact -- it's not a stereotype. And to imply that people are being stigmatized by actually looking into the radicalization of these elements who have attacked us, I think is completely wrong and deeply cynical. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/7/11]
Peters: “We Need This. We Need It Bad.” On the March 7 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman asked Fox contributor Ralph Peters if King's hearings “will actually help in the war on terror.” Peters responded:
PETERS: Yes, you've got to shine a light on this, which the Obama administration hasn't been willing to do. Every time you try to hold public hearings or put a spotlight on the actions of Islamic radicals - Islamic radical in this country, the radical groups like CAIR - Council on American Islamic Relations - start screaming “prejudice,” “bigotry.” Look, holding hearings on Islamist terrorism isn't an attack on Muslims any more than holding hearings on the Mafia is an attack on all Catholics. We need this. We need it bad. And by the way, Baptists and Mormons didn't attack the Twin Towers. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/8/11]
Many Groups and Leaders, Both Muslim And Non-Muslim, Have Criticized King's Hearings
NYT: “Fifty-one Muslim, Civil Rights And Interfaith Groups Sent A Letter” To Boehner And Pelosi Protesting The Hearings “As Modern-Day McCarthyism.” A February 7 New York Times article reported:
As the hearings approach, the reaction from Muslim groups -- initially outraged -- has evolved into efforts to get Mr. King to enlarge the scope of the hearings beyond Muslims. They want to use the forum to reinforce the notion that the potential for terrorist violence among American Muslims is very marginal and very isolated.
“Our heads aren't in the sand,” Alejandro J. Beutel, the government and policy analyst for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a national advocacy group, said at a forum his group sponsored on Monday on Capitol Hill. “The threat clearly exists, but I also want to put it in perspective. The threat exists, but it is not a pandemic.”
Fifty-one Muslim, civil rights and interfaith groups sent a letter last week to Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, protesting Mr. King's hearings as modern-day McCarthyism. They said that if Congress was going to investigate violent extremism, it should investigate extremists of all kinds and not just Muslims.
“Singling out a group of Americans for government scrutiny based on their faith is divisive and wrong,” said the letter, which was led by Muslim Advocates, a legal and policy organization in San Francisco, and was signed by non-Muslim groups including Amnesty International USA, the Interfaith Alliance and the Japanese American Citizens League. [The New York Times, 2/7/11; Muslim Advocates, 2/1/11]
Politico: King's “Upcoming Hearings Have Caused Deep Concern And Consternation Among Many Of The Arab And Muslim Advocacy Groups Across The Country.” A January 18 Politico article stated:
[King's] upcoming hearings have caused deep concern and consternation among many of the Arab and Muslim advocacy groups across the country who fear King's witness list will help define, for the purposes of the American public conversation, which Muslim leaders are legitimate, and which should be regarded as extremists.
“You can definitely say overall the hearings are seen with great apprehension, suspicion and distaste -- sometimes sorrow,” said Khaled Abou El Fadl, an expert on Islam and Islamic law at UCLA. “These hearings have a history of stigmatizing whole groups of people.”
Possible witnesses, according to King, include the Dutch critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Zuhdi Jasser, the Arizona-based founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Jasser is a sharp critic of leading American Muslim groups, whose agenda he calls “Islamist.”
“We have to admit as Muslims that we need a 12-step program,” Jasser told POLITICO. “The first step is acceptance.”
“If they don't see us leading a charge for reform, they're going to see us as part of the problem,” he said.
Jasser is a rare Muslim voice welcoming the hearings. Other community leaders who spoke to POLITICO are afraid that their fragmented community is not ready for this fight.
“This could be a very damaging hearing -- it really could be something that spreads a lot of vitriol and poison, and I'm worried about it, and I don't understand why the community has decided to allow itself to be so unorganized,” said Hussein Ibish, a former communications director at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee who is now a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. [Politico, 1/18/11]
Catholic Group Reportedly Delivered Letter Signed By 80 Long Island Religious Leaders Asking King “To Ensure His Hearings Are Fair.” According to a February 22 post on the Long Island-based blog, Plainview Patch:
A heated protest rally and counter-demonstration took place Tuesday [February 22] outside the Massapequa office of US Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, over his plans to hold Congressional hearings on homegrown Islamic terrorism.
More than a hundred protestors on both sides of the issue gathered outside the Seaford Republican's Park Boulevard office to voice their opinions on King's controversial stance on American Muslims. King, elected to a ninth term in a landslide victory last November, is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
King, said in a recent radio interview that more than 80 percent of mosques are “controlled by radical imams,” citing the 1999 testimony of a Muslim leader to the state department as evidence. He also said in a 2007 interview that “there are too many mosques in this country.”
Opposing what they call the “demonizing of our Muslim American neighbors,” among the crowd gathered outside the office were the Catholic organization Pax Christi, the Islamic Center of Long Island, the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, the Interfaith Alliance of Long Island, and the Muslim Peace Coalition.
Sister Jeanne Clark of Pax Christi lead a group that delivered a letter to King's office, signed by approximately 80 Long Island religious leaders, asking King to ensure his hearings are fair.
“We're here to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community on Long Island,” Clark said. “We think that Congressman King's hearings are misguided...that they're creating a more toxic atmosphere and alienating people.”
Shaik Ubaid, co-chair of the New York chapter of the Muslim Peace Coalition, said he just wants balanced and impartial treatment for his people.
“King is painting the Muslim community with a broad brush,” he said. “We want the hearings to be held in a very scientific way, instead of inviting Muslim-bashers to come and say stupid things.”
In turn, an equally passionate counter-protest gathered outside of police-erected barriers, yelling anti-Muslim and pro-American slogans at demonstrators and waving Gadsden flags high in the air. [Plainview Patch, 2/22/11]
The Jewish Week: Prominent Rabbis Condemn King's Hearings. From a February 15 article in The Jewish Week:
Planned congressional hearings next month exploring the efforts of al Qaeda to recruit Muslims in the United States for terrorist attacks here have sparked widespread criticism among religious leaders, including several Jewish leaders.
“These hearings should be broadened to deal with religious extremism in different communities,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “But having begun the conversation saying there is an inherent link between Islam per se and terrorism is not helpful to religious tolerance in America, America's strategic interests or the valid questions that have to be raised.”
Rabbi Nancy Kreimer, director of Multi-faith Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, said that although she did not know details of the hearing, it doesn't pass the smell test.
“It doesn't work to take a particular group of people and put them under a slide and say, 'You people are likely to be such and such,'” she said. “It reminds me of the red-baiting in the '50s, and of an unofficial assumption that a group of people were likely to be that way and think that way. It's a bad path to go down. And when it is said that [the committee] will be looking into American Muslims who are being recruited by [al Qaeda], it puts a shadow over them and leads other people to be suspicious of them simply because they are Muslim. We all know this doesn't smell right -- that there are probably better ways to go about it.” [The Jewish Week, 2/15/11]
AP: NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Says Hearings Are “Not Appropriate.” As The Associated Press reported on December 20, 2010, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said King's hearings “on radical Islam are not appropriate.” [AP, 12/20/10]
Critics Say King's Hearings Are “Counterproductive” And Do Not Replace “Good Intelligence Work”
Former Bush Security Adviser On Hearings: National Security Experts “Are Holding Their Breath That It Doesn't Explode.” The Washington Post reported on February 28:
With a mostly top-secret list and the first hearing in a few days, anxiety is building among Muslim Americans and national security experts alike. Although some hope that it will improve dialogue, others fear it could set off more prejudice.
National security experts “are holding their breath that it doesn't explode. I've heard that from people on all sides,” said Juan C. Zarate, a senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies who was security adviser to President George W. Bush.
WaPo's Jacoby: “The Only Purpose Of These Hearings Is To Insult American Muslims.” In a March 7 post on the Washington Post blog On Faith, reporter and author Susan Jacoby wrote:
Some men beat their wives. Therefore, we should have a Congressional hearing in which all men's groups are called to account for the behavior of their abusive brethren. That's the “reasoning” behind Rep. Pete King's hearings on homegrown radical Islamists. The only purpose of these hearings is to insult American Muslims and inflate the reputation of a political publicity hound. As for finding out anything about real homegrown radicals, genuine conspiracies are unmasked through good intelligence work and the cooperation of informers. Neither of these take place before television cameras at public hearings. [The Washington Post,3/7/11]
Georgetown Law Fellow Wala: Hearings Are “Counterproductive And Inconsistent With American Values.” In a February 9 post on the blog Human Rights First, Raha Wala, a Georgetown Human Rights Fellow in the Law and Security Program, wrote:
The pressure continues to mount on Representative Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, to cancel his proposed hearings on “radicalization” within the American Muslim community. A growing chorus of critics have correctly recognized these proposed hearings for what they are: counterproductive and inconsistent with American values. Indeed, If America stands for one thing, it stands for unity in the face of attempts to divide people, whether by race, religion, or ethnicity. At times in American history that principle has been shaken--as was the case with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II--but ultimately discrimination is never in the national interest, and today's counterterrorism policies are no exception. As John Brennan, chief counterterrorism adviser to the President, has emphasized:
"Describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie--propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism--that the United States is somehow at war against Islam. The reality, of course, is that we never have been and will never be at war with Islam. After all, Islam, like so many faiths, is part of America....Our enemy is al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. For it was al Qaeda who attacked us so viciously on 9/11 and whose desire to attack the United States, our allies, and our partners remains undiminished."
Moreover, a single-minded focus on the American Muslim community, or Islam in general, is counterproductive. Brian Fishman, a researcher at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, warns that Anti-Muslim rhetoric feeds into the messages of al Qaeda propagandists like Anwar al-Awlaki, who try to recruit terrorists by advancing claims that American Muslims face a dark future of ever-worsening discrimination and vilification. Major General Paul Eaton, U.S. Army (Ret.), explained how Anti-Muslim rhetoric is harmful to the military's objectives: “It is a slap in the face to a great many people we wish to have as allies. We are trying to make allies of our colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is not helpful.” [Human Rights First, 2/9/11, emphasis added]