On Dec. 9, in response to the recent racist and anti-Semitic graffiti incidents at Glen Cove’s Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone held a press conference, announcing the formation of an anti-hate task force.
The press conference was hosted by the HMTC and featured appearances by several other government officials. Normally, this would be an uncontroversial and welcome response to indefensible acts of bigotry.
However, Curran, Bellone and HMTC leadership delegitimized their own efforts by inviting U.S. Rep. Peter King to attend the press conference and address the crowd.
I do not make this serious and unfortunate accusation because of King’s political affiliation. I make it because King has spent many years spewing hatred and has no place leading the charge against bigotry on Long Island.
For example, back in 2011, King initiated a series of infamous anti-Muslim congressional hearings.
At the time, King made unsupported claims that Muslim leaders and community members, including those he personally worked with in the past, were not cooperating with law enforcement to fight radicalization and were covering for al Qaeda, the terrorist organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
The year before, King attended an awards ceremony thrown by anti-Muslim group ACT for America, where its founder, Brigitte Tudor, presented him with their “Patriot Award.”
Further, King has been a longtime advocate for the blanket surveillance of Muslim houses of worship and even recently encouraged Donald Trump to implement a surveillance program similar to the failed illegal one previously put in place by the NYPD.
King has also claimed that there are “too many mosques” in the United States (a comment he later claimed was misconstrued).
I suggest your readers look over the article by Spencer Ackerman, “Peter King Pioneered the Persecution of American Muslims,” published by the Daily Beast website on Nov. 11, 2019, if they would like a condensed summary of King’s abhorrent anti-Muslim history.
For these (and many other reasons), Curran, Bellone and the HMTC’s leadership should be ashamed to have allowed King to take part in their press conference and distract from the important task of combating hatred on Long Island. They can and should do better.
New Hyde Park