Newsday – March 3, 2004
Muslim Long Islanders feel betrayed
by King's remarks
My congressman, Peter King, has launched a massive strike against American-Muslims on radio, TV and in Newsday, of what can best be described as WMD - words of mass distortion. These charges hit home when I read that his views were "crystallized" after he read that "some Jewish attendees walked out" at a presentation I made at Temple Beth El at a Sabbath eve service in October 2001 - an interpretation of events that has been discredited by Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson of Temple Beth El, who was also there.
The Muslims of Long Island are puzzled by Rep. King's remarks, since he had been a frequent visitor to the Islamic Center of Long Island pre-9/11. He has been hosted in our homes; I have visited him at his offices in the Third District and Washington; we have had summer interns in his New York and Washington offices. In my book, "Story of a Mosque in America," he wrote: "My visit to ICLI was memorable. I couldn't help but be impressed with the work ethic, devotion to family and spiritual commitment so evident at the center. It has been gratifying for me to help build a political awareness in this, the fastest-growing religious group in America."
Sadly, Rep. King, unlike other elected officials post-9/11, chose not to attend the numerous events he was invited to at ICLI, including the annual commemoration for 9/11 victims. He has been out of touch with the voters in his district, resulting in the dangerous accusation and false comments that will resonate beyond Long Island and further widen the gulf between America and the rest of the world.
We would welcome an opportunity to meet with Congressman King with the hope and expectation that he would share with us the information on which he has based these serious accusations.
Faroque Ahmad Khan
President of the Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury.
Rep. Peter King has said he would meet with Muslim clergy "on my terms" and "I'm not going to listen to propaganda. The purpose of the meeting will be to detail the cooperation they are giving to law enforcement and what they are doing to work against al-Qaida in this country."
Who does King think he is? He is a public servant. His salary is paid for by taxpayers. He is answerable to those taxpayers and, quite frankly, has no "terms" that the taxpayers are required to meet. If a constituent has something to say to his or her representative, that representative had better sit down and listen - that's their job. There are no qualifiers for the conversation.
King has proven in the past he is unwilling to listen, when he called the police to remove constituents from his office who wanted to speak to him about the Bush-Iraq War.