According to U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-NY, more than 80 percent of the mosques in this country are headed by imams who espouse radical Islamic jihad.

Eighty percent. King has offered that estimate in the past, and did so again this week in a radio interview:

King did not claim to have a list of those subversive enemies of American freedom in his suit pocket, as Sen. Joe McCarthy did 60 years ago. But like McCarthy, King does have the chairmanship of a prominent congressional committee, in his case the House Homeland Security Committee. And next month, King’s committee is scheduled to hold public hearings into the alleged disloyalty of the Muslim-American community.

That ought to go so very well, don’t you think?

And then we’ve got U.S. Rep. Allen West, a newly elected Republican from Florida. In a recent interview with a cable TV program called “The Shalom Show,” West was asked a rather odd question about U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and a Muslim, and he responded with an equally odd answer (The interchange begins at 1:47 in the video below):

Interviewer Richard Peritz: “Since you’re with a new crowd, people you haven’t really met before and will be very closely associated with in the future, including Keith Ellison, who supports Islam. How will you manage that, if I may ask? Because it’s not really easy to be that … polite, often, with individuals one totally disagrees with, which I believe may be the case.”

Rep. West: “I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you got to be able to defeat them intellectually and in debate and discourse.”

It really is astounding. Is it possible to be polite to a Muslim-American? Does Ellison, by the mere fact of being a Muslim, “represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established?”

Or is that all just vile, ugly bigotry spouted by men wearing nice suits?

– Jay Bookman

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