Accuracy in Media

The topic of “Political Correctness” came up a number of times during the Homeland Security hearing Wednesday on Islamic radicalization in the prison system. Although the Associated Press only devoted two paragraphs of its story on the hearing to terrorist recruitment in prison, with no particulars given, the committee learned that it is a clear and present danger. Political correctness translated into sporadic emotional outbursts of opposition from the Democrat congressman who spun the national threat of Islamic Radicalization into an issue of race and discrimination.

The committee chairman, Peter King (R-NY), vehemently disagrees. The chairman opened the hearing by stressing its importance: “It is a hearing which is necessary because the danger remains real and present, especially because of al Qaeda’s announced intention to intensify attacks within the United States.” He further highlighted the threat of the foreign backing by referring to a report by U.S Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., that read, “Three dozen U.S. citizens who converted to Islam while in prison have traveled to Yemen, possibly for Al Qaeda training.” It is clear that this is a national threat.

Rep. King’s Muslim Prison Radicalization Hearing:

Rep. Laura Richardson D-Calif., criticized Chairman King on the scope of the hearing, saying: “I actually believe that the focus of one particular group on the basis of race or religion can be deemed as racist and is discriminatory… it is flawed and should not be done in the House of Representatives.”

Congressman King responded by reminding Ms. Richardson that the Homeland Security committee was created as a response to the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001. He also pointed out that there are already “procedures that follow gangs when they leave prison,” but, “Unfortunately because of too many instances of political correctness, we do not have protocols in place to follow those who were trained in jihad in the prisons. That is why this is unique.” He also reminded her that “Your party had control of this committee for four years. Not one hearing at all, not anything at all involving prisons on skinheads, on Nazis, on Aryan Nation, on white supremacists at all.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) claimed that her “political correctness is the Constitution,” then went on to say that “the topic lends itself to a myriad analysis.” Before she contradicted herself by calling for a broader analysis, she introduced the name Verne Jay Merrell, a man who was arrested for bombing an abortion clinic in 1996 as a “Christian militant.”

Lee attempted to draw a parallel between Merrell and Islamic radicalization when she asked witness Patrick Dunleavy, a Retired Deputy Inspector, Criminal Intelligence Unit in the New York Department of Correctional Services, if “Christian militants” pose a national threat. He responded, “Anyone who goes about killing in the name of God is an ideologue.”

After this statement, Dunleavy started to discuss two fundamental aspects of Islam to bring the conversation back to its original topic, but she immediately cut him off and said, “as we look to be informational we should include an analysis how Christian militants or others bring down the country—we have to look broadly.” Shortly after, she suggested that foreign backing of Islamic radicalization in prisons is not the problem, it is intention, referring back to “Christian militants.”

Thank you Reps., but the intention to use the prison system as a breeding ground for Jihad, Islamic terrorism, is the problem.

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