NY Republican Peter King once again shows us that he is one of few US politicians that is not afraid to speak the truth. In response to the DHS's report on right-wing domestic terrorists, Mr.King put the focus right back where it belongs. On the Islamic threat and how they are refusing to cooperate with the FBI.
Peter King standing by Muslim comments
BY MICHAEL AMON
April 19, 2009
As he heads upstate tonight to gauge support for a U.S. Senate run, Rep. Peter King said Sunday he has no plans to tone down his comments about Muslims and their cooperation with law enforcement -- a long-simmering issue that flared up again over the weekend.
But political experts said King (R-Seaford) was taking a risk by provoking fights with a minority group as he considers higher office in a diverse, Democratic state where the GOP usually wins by moving to the center.
"In a state where centrists tend to win elections, it makes him look too far to the right," said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant working for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is running for re-election as a Republican.
In response to a Department of Homeland Security report about domestic right-wing extremism, King (R-Seaford) told MSNBC Friday that the department "has never put out a report talking about look out for mosques. Look out for Islamic terrorists in our country. Look out for the fact that very few Muslims come forward to cooperate with the police."
For some, it was reminiscent of when King made national headlines in 2007 for saying there are "too many mosques in this country." Friday's comments were called "bigoted" by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato said King's candor was usually a "refreshing" asset. D'Amato said he agreed with King about Muslims and law enforcement, but "politically, he shouldn't probably have said it."
Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau Democratic Party, said King - an outspoken conservative who sometimes sides with Democrats - may have hurt himself with moderate voters.
"It does exacerbate his problems with Muslims and others who may be looking for more tolerance," Jacobs said. "Moderates, by definition, are looking for moderation."
King stood by his remarks in an interview Sunday and said: "We're kidding ourselves by not addressing the issue.
"The fact is, the Muslim community does not cooperate with law enforcement," said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee. Asked how his remarks would affect his chances against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, King said he didn't know.
"How [voters] react, that's not why I said it," he said. "I'll be trying to appeal to everyone for votes, but I'm not going to change my positions."
A spokesman for Gillibrand did not return calls.
King, who is serving his ninth term, said he will decide on a Senate run by the "end of the summer."
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