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Hip Hop mogul attacks Peter King hearings: Islamic radicals and the Ku Klux Klan
Here we go.
The effort to demonize New York’s Congressman Peter King for his upcoming hearings on the problem of Islamic radicalization in this country has begun. Over the weekend there was a demonstration in Times Square filled with Muslims and others protesting King. Among the leaders, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, until recently the front man for the proposed Ground Zero Mosque. And, to his everlasting shame: hip hop mogul Russell Simmons.
The charge: “Muslims are under attack” because of Congressman King, claims Imam Rauf. And, worse, from Simmons, not a declared Muslim or apparently anything else but the chairman of the “Foundation for Ethnic Understanding,” comes the disgraceful nonsense that “the whole premise of the hearings is absolutely discriminatory” and “would only foster fear.”
Let’s stop for a moment and explore an event in American history that took place when Russell Simmons was just six years old, a tragic event that in the end — precisely because there were Americans like Peter King — has helped Russell Simmons become the success that he is. And understand why it was exactly important not to respond to this now long-ago event in the way Russell Simmons is responding to the King hearings.
September 15, 1963. A Sunday morning.
A bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Four young girls, readying for Sunday school, are killed. They had names and families who loved them, too. Those names were: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. Addie, Carole and Cynthia were 14. Denise was 11.
They were also black. In fact, the church is a black church — and not just any black church. By September of 1963 it has been used by Dr. Martin Luther King himself as a place to rally the blacks of Birmingham, a central locale in the struggle for equal rights. Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 is at the dead center of the then-controversial Civil Rights movement, and the Sixteenth Baptist Church is at the center of the movement in Birmingham.
What does not happen next?
There was no statement from the Attorney General of the United States — a white man named Robert F. Kennedy — that to suspect “my people” — white men — in an investigation of this bombing is somehow demeaning. Unlike later and current Attorney General Eric Holder, who says he regards allegations that the Black Panthers had engaged in voter discrimination as demeaning to his “people.”
There was no speculation from the then-Mayor of New York, Democrat Robert F. Wagner Jr. — that the bombing might have been related to President Kennedy’s then-controversial push for tax cuts. As a later New York Mayor Bloomberg would speculate that a caught-just-in-time Islamic radical bomb attempt in Times Square was instead the result of a mentally unstable person upset about ObamaCare.
There was, however, in fact someone in 1963 who took a variation of the theme that Russell Simmons is taking today with the Peter King hearings that begin this week.
It was a suggestion from a prominent white Democrat — Birmingham’s ex-police commissioner, a member of the Democratic National Committee. It was a suggestion that maybe there was in fact someone else to blame for this violence that took the lives of four little girls — someone other than a white person in Birmingham. A suggestion that to focus exclusively on white people was, as Simmons is saying today of those who hold that Islamic radicals are alone responsible for Islamic radicalism, “absolutely discriminatory.”
Said Eugene “Bull” Connor, already famous as the Birmingham police commissioner who unleashed police dogs and fire hoses on civil rights supporters in the streets of Birmingham earlier that year:
“I hope they catch those people who threw the dynamite. But I will say this. I wouldn’t say it was above King’s Crowd.”
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