Posted by on March 09, 2011 in Blog
An Open Letter to Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY)
By Sami H. Elmansoury
It has come to our attention that you are commencing hearings this week that seek to question the American Muslim community's commitment to defending the homeland against violent extremism. We vehemently condemn all forms of violent extremism, and we act proudly against its infiltration into any American community.
It is not our commitment to the defense of our country that you should call into question. It is your commitment to the defense of our country, that we should call into question.
Because we are proud, committed, and dedicated Americans who practice a beautiful faith, with a rich heritage, and we shall no longer stand to be subjected to the ills of unwarranted suspicion, hatred, and slander, in the name of national security, that has marred the discourse of those who would follow you for far too long.
I have met you at length in-person, and you claim that you are not ill-willed. As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, then, you have a responsibility to ensure that all of our citizens can live free, and can be at peace. Securing the nation is not simply the ability to defend our country against the extremism that we all shun, but it is the ability to ensure that liberty and justice pervade for all.
George Washington once said: "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered - staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
John Adams once said: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."
Thomas Jefferson once said: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences of too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
And Benjamin Franklin once said: "God grant that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man, pervade all the nations of the earth... so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say:" This is my country."
In order to ensure that there is trust between all American communities, it is time to change the discourse.
My Grandfather arrived in this country in the 1960s to help the United States beat the Soviet Union and send Neil Armstrong to the moon. He was a patriot. He still is a patriot. And I am patriot.
But Congressman King:
We ask, in the name of the only nation that we know, that you use the utmost discretion while protecting the homeland, that you partner with all communities in your work to defend our nation, and not alienate them, that you put liberty before politics, and peace before propaganda. And that you not let fear of the other consume our great nation once again. As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, this responsibility is now yours to bear.
So Congressman King:
Hear the voices of those who lay at the very foundation of our country. Our country.
Sami H. Elmansoury
And Many Concerned Americans
March 9, 2011