WITH regards to last week’s “Intelligencer” column by Niall O’Dowd on Congressman Peter King’s hearings on Muslim Americans, I have likewise known King for many years and fully agree with not only his stand up defense of those victimized by British violence and treachery, but his steadfast witness to the role the IRA played both in war and in peace. 

I also have an additional perspective.

I have worked closely with federal, state and local elected officials in attempting to focus media attention on the distinctions between the causes and the effects of the conflict.  The primary tool available to each level of government is a public hearing. 

It is indispensable to a democracy such as ours and has successively served, on a limited basis, the cause of American concerns for the Irish conflict – i.e., Joe Doherty’s extradition/deportation, use of plastic bullets, sales of arms to the RUC, the murder of lawyers Rosemary Nelson and Patrick Finucane, etc. 

It is only a “bully pulpit” if abused especially for theatrical or media purposes.  I do not think Chairman King is such a person.

As for immigration reform and the radicalization of some followers of Islam, there is a fair division of opinion on just what are both the extent of those problems and the cost and consequences of various proposed solutions. 

The public is usually well served with the sworn testimony of officialdom on just what their views are and their proposed actions.  I, for one, am not convinced that the unrest in the Middle East is “enlightened,” or rather the result of power struggles between theocrats and militarists.

In either event, who better to conduct this hearing than a man who has faced the evil of Britain’s poisonous manipulation of religion and politics?

Given the concentration of so much bad behavior by some members of Congress, I for one am grateful Pete King has chosen to do his job and explore this issue.  I am confident he will do so responsibly.

Michael J. Cummings,
National Board, AOH
Albany, New York