Foreign Policy Blogs

Rep. King Hearing: Homegrown Terrorism is a Real Threat

There has been some push back coming against Congressman Peter King’s scheduled hearing on the threat of homegrown terrorism to American national security. A prime example comes from the New York Times editorial page, where Bob Herbert proclaims:

Representative Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, appears to harbor a fierce unhappiness with the Muslim community in the United States. As the chairman of the powerful Homeland Security Committee, Congressman King has all the clout he needs to act on his displeasure.

Despite this rather odious implication that King is a bigot and unfairly targeting Muslims, Herbert gives not one real piece of evidence of his claim. Do you know what there is actual evidence to support though? The fact that the United States does indeed face a troubling growth in homegrown terrorist activity, which sadly, but truthfully, mostly comes from those of Muslim backgrounds. According to Gregory Treverton of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security, there were 46 publicly reported cases of radicalization and recruitment of jihadist terrorism, involving 125 individuals in the US between 9/11 and the beginning of 2010. Those numbers do not include Richard Reid, who plotted his attack outside the US, or Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber. In 2009, there were two fatal attacks from homegrown products targeting Americans: the Fort Hood massacre (13 killed, 31 wounded) and the murder of another American soldier at an Arkansas recruiting office. Lest we also forget Mohamed Mohamud, who last November pressed a button believing it would blow up hundreds of families watching the lighting of the downtown Portland Christmas tree. I could go on…

So to argue or even insinuate that homegrown terrorism, particularly of the Islamist variation, is not a serious national security is to ignore the reality of the past ten years. Rep. King’s hearing is not happening to put American Muslims in a poor light. If done correctly, it will just highlight a disturbing trend in the radicalization of a small segment of our population that poses a threat to all of our safety and well being. No one gives American Islam a worse name than those who seek to kill and maim in the religion’s name. To defeat an enemy, you have to know it. It does no one any good to hide behind political correctness and baseless claims of racism.

Patrick Frost, Senior Blogger



Patrick Frost
Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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