Top Democrats are defending their appointment of a Muslim congressman to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee after protests erupted on social media, warning the move is dangerous, AP said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this week appointed Rep. Andre Carson to the panel, which oversees the government’s intelligence departments and activities. Much of the business that comes before the committee is classified, the report said.
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Anti-Muslim protests erupted on Twitter and other social media with complaints that exposing American secrets to Carson could be dangerous, AP said.
Democrats widely rejected that view. Pelosi said Carson is the only member of Congress to have served in a Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center, which provides intelligence sharing and training across levels of government. Carson also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the report said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the panel, called the protests un-American. He said including Muslim Americans in public policy issues is “an essential element in preventing the kind of alienation that has made too many young European Muslims vulnerable to extremism”, according to AP.
Rep. Joseph Crowley, vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, called on his colleagues to renounce the attacks. “We will never be able to grow as a society if we allow this kind of hatred and division to go unchecked, ” Crowley wrote in a letter to his colleagues, the report said.
But Carson’s elevation to the House Intelligence Committee, first reported by Politico, will cause rumbles among lawmakers who charge that the U.S. government – particularly the Obama administration – has studiously avoided linking Islam with the steady stream of deadly attacks that plague Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Daily Mail said.
At the 2012 Islamic convention in Hartford, Connecticut, Carson said that ‘America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Qu’ran”, the Mail said.
Moments later, acknowledging the presence of undercover federal law enforcement officers in the audience, he said, “It’s unfortunate that there are those who are thinking that, at this convention right now, we’re having secret meetings, that we’re plotting to destroy this country. But I say to those who are here undercover: Allah will not allow you to stop us.”
Although he was quick to backtrack on his advice about madrassas, Carson has never publicly addressed his comments about violent extremism and law enforcement’s ability to stop it, the Mail said.