Congressman King Rejects Pressure to Drop Notable Scholar of Islam from Congressional Testimony

world | Mar 04, 2011 | By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

In the wake of the Council of American Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) call to block Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares from testifying on Capitol Hill; Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) has rejected the Islamist organization’s call to silence Phares.

King, who chairs the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement: “Professor Walid Phares is a respected author, scholar and expert on Islamist Jihadism. For several months Professor Phares has been advising the Homeland Security Committee staff and me in preparing for Committee hearings on Islamist or Jihadi radicalization. Professor Phares has been extremely helpful and cooperative, even agreeing to my request that he consider being a witness at a hearing, should the need arise. His only caveat was to warn me that certain elements would charge that as a Christian he is not qualified to testify as a representative from Muslim communities. I assured him that would not stop me from asking him to testify.

“I did, for a time, consider asking Professor Phares to be a witness at the first hearing to provide an overview of Jihadi ideologies. Approximately three weeks ago, however, I decided to focus that first hearing on specific instances of radicalization within the American Muslim community from an American Muslim perspective. While Professor Phares will not be a witness at the first hearing on March 10, I certainly expect to call him to testify at future hearings regarding Jihadi ideologies and strategies. My staff and I will also continue to rely upon Professor Phares for his advice and counsel as these hearings go forward.”

CAIR, described by many as a jihadist-sympathizing organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, has not only argued for the silencing of Phares, but the organization’s leadership has also reportedly referred to Phares as “a militiaman.” This is but a condescending reference to Phares’ service to his native Lebanon, and a suggestion that – as a Christian – he cannot be impartial.

According to an article translated for us from Al Qanat, Phares was perhaps targeted “as a result” of a segment in the just-released film, Iranium, in which he calls for a regime change in Iran. In the report, “The Iranian [regime] wants Phares not to educate members of Congress.”

Middle East analysts tell us “there is a red flag in this convergence of interests between Iran’s ayatollahs and a “Salafist-Sunni pressure group” in Washington D.C.

Indeed, Steve Emerson, an expert on CAIR, who has briefed the U.S. government, has alleged that CAIR is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, a Salafist movement. Emerson and John Guandolo, another expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, have asserted that CAIR also fronts for Hamas, itself a Salafi group and on the U.S. government’s list of “foreign terrorist organizations.”

With this in mind, CAIR’s reach to Hezbollah and thus to Iran is simple. CAIR is linked to Hamas and the latter is a direct ally of Hezbollah and the Iranian regime. Not surprisingly, CAIR’s letter to King was quickly published by Hezbollah’s newspaper in Lebanon, Al Akhbar.

According to our sources, “There is no mistaking here. Hezbollah and the Iranians do not run content from the U.S. published by Salafists unless it is in their sights. Hence CAIR, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, do coordinate efforts in their media activities against common foes.”

Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American activist, says the Iranian regime uses the services of Salafist allies like Hamas, and thus the latter’s allies worldwide. Sheikh Sami el Khoury, president of the World Maronite Union – which represents millions of Lebanese worldwide – says, “CAIR’s letter is an insult and an attack against the Maronite (Christian) American community.”

Saudi-American activist Ali al Yami, says, “CAIR does not represent the Muslim-American community, and is not mandated to speak on behalf of it and should refrain from attacking respectable experts like Professor Phares and leading Muslim American voices such as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. We have enough of this behavior which reminds us of how Islamist regimes suppress dissent in the region.”

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is an author of several books and an analyst of military affairs. A veteran journalist, he was also a Lt.Colonel in the US Marine Corps. See his website



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