Rep. Peter King's Radical Islam Witness Smeared Muslim Group Honored By Bush

January 19, 2011 3:26 pm ET — Matt Gertz

Politico details the potential witnesses Rep. Peter King is considering for next month's planned Homeland Security hearing on radical Islam in America:

Possible witnesses, according to King, include Dutch critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali and M. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Jasser is a sharp critic of leading American Muslim groups, whose agenda he calls "Islamist."

Over at ThinkProgress, Matt Duss finds the mention of Hirsi Ali "troubling":

Hirsi Ali — a Somali Dutch immigrant and activist — believes, among other things, that "Islam is a cult," that "there is no moderate Islam," and that "we are at war with Islam." What will Ali add to the hearings, other than general hostility toward Muslims and their faith?

King's floating of Jasser's name also suggests that he may be convening the "anti-Muslim witch hunt" his critics fear. In an appearance on Fox News earlier this month, Jasser attacked Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, best known for his advocacy for the Park51 Islamic cultural center, for appearing at a conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a group Jasser described as "basically the central nervous system" of "not only a national but a global theo-political movement which are many front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood":

That may come as some surprise to President George W. Bush and former members of his administration. Three days after the September 11 terror attacks, ISNA's then-president, Muzammil Siddiqi, was called upon — reportedly by the Bush White House — to read a prayer during the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance held at Washington's National Cathedral. Siddiqi was the only imam to be so honored; other speakers at the memorial included Billy Graham and, of course, President Bush. 

A few weeks later, when Bush met with Muslim community leaders at the White House, Siddiqi was among the president's guests. In remarks following the meeting, Bush praised Siddiqi for having done "a heck of a good job" leading the National Cathedral service, adding that "we were proud to have him there." Bush also revealed that Siddiqi had given him a copy of the Koran and thanked him for the "very thoughtful gift."

The Bush Department of Justice was also apparently unaware of ISNA's supposedly sinister ties — DOJ reportedly had an information table at ISNA's 2007 convention.