Irish should know better than to demonize Muslims given their own history
But he's about to make Muslim families in the U.S. know what it felt like to be Irish in Britain 30 years ago, what it's like to feel collective suspicion. Innocent Muslim families will hope that "terrorist suspects" in police custody don't have the same family name as them, and pray that no one under interrogation says they are friends.
Irish people in London were routinely shunned by neighbors and work colleagues after an IRA bombing, wrongly presuming we either supported the violence, or were hiding information about the bombers from the police.
Public suspicion of us encouraged the police to assume we were guilty on some level, and we teenagers hated them for it. We gave them false, English-sounding names when they stopped us in the street, and avoided helping them. None of us would have dreamed of becoming a police officer.
The King hearings would fuel similar animosity, signaling to young Muslims that they don't belong, that the assumption of innocence doesn't really apply to them, and that it's their turn to become the usual suspects.
(Brian Dooley is the author of "Choosing the Green? Second Generation Irish and the Cause of Ireland," and "Black and Green, the Fight for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland and Black America.”)