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Murtaza Shambhoora

Are the King Hearings a return to McCarthyism

Early this month, Americans witnessed a bizarre Congressional hearing held by Republican Peter King: their fellow citizens were being accused of posing a threat to American society due to increased Islamic radicalization. In a time when American relations with the Middle East are fragile, such Congressional hearings only reinforced the view certain Muslims hold that the American government is Islamophobic. I’m not surprised by the fact that this hearing was held, and I’m not surprised that a Republican who falsely claimsthat radical Muslims control 80% of mosques in America was running it. What I am surprised about is the fact that an individual with such extremist viewpoints holds power in a country built upon the notion of acceptance and religious freedom. What bothered me the most, however, is that according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll, only one-third of Americans have heard about King’s hearings. Additionally, a significant amount of individuals who had followed the hearings stated that Fox News was their main source of their information. Another disturbing statistic from the poll was that around one-third of Evangelical Christians believe that the Muslim minorities in America want to institute Sharia law in their communities. It is shocking to see such ignorance and bias towards a racial minority.King’s idea that Congressional hearings accusing the American Muslim minority of increased radicalization and non-cooperation with the law will solve or even begin to address the problem is ludicrous. Muslim Americans feel betrayed; they came to America expecting religious freedom, which is being taken away due to the nonsensical acts of a few extremists. They are the specific targets of a Congressional hearing that should address radicals of all kinds, not just Muslims. The return of McCarthyism should be a real scare for American society. It only leads to increased misunderstandings, societal… Read More

Libya at crossroads

Not only my success in Libya, sir, But my arrival and my wife's in safety Here where we are.- William Shakespeare (The Winter's Tale, Act 5, Scene 1)The ancient Japanese ritual of seppuku dates back to the 1100s and refers to the practice of Samurai warriors falling on their swords to commit suicide rather than facing the disgrace of being captured by their enemies. The Roman practice of ‘falling on your sword’ was later immortalized by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar.How times have changed. Libya’s once-‘fashionable’ dictator and military commander Muammar Gaddafi was caught crawling away from rebel fighters in a drainage pipe. Found in his pocket was a gold-plated gun, recovered before his fellow citizens towed him, like a rag doll, down the streets he once ruled.Gaddafi’s bloodied end comes eight years after Saddam Hussein’s capture (found hiding in a ‘spider hole’) and five months after bin Laden’s assassination. The world has met each death with mixed emotions. Many cheer the apprehension and elimination of dictators and terrorists; others question whether these men have a right to a due process.While the latter question is asked more often by Western media, for only they have the luxury of doing so, we cannot blame the recently-freed Libyan populace for so reacting to Gaddafi’s capture. For them it was a moment of victory after eight months and eight days of blood and tears, and the moment necessitated that justice be swiftly done. Additionally, the bloodied image of the self-styled ‘King of Africa’ should rattle despots across the region.We would nonetheless be best to remember Libya, and the Arab Spring itself, in ways other than by the barbarous images of Libyans dragging their filthy, shirtless ex-tyrant across the dusty streets of Misrata. Violence was necessary to reach this point in Libya’s epochal transition, but… Read More