AP, newsday.com (NY), Mar. 7
NEW YORK — Leaders of 85 percent of the nation’s mosques are involved in terrorist activities, and some have made irresponsible statements about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, said Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican.
“I don’t see any need to be politically correct here — the stakes are too high,” King said in an interview broadcast Sunday on WNBC-TV’s “News Forum.”
The 85 percent figure was drawn from research done for his recently published novel, “Vale of Tears,” about the World Trade Center attacks, King said.
Muslim groups on Long Island have denounced the claim, accusing him of fanning anti-Muslim sentiment to sell books.
King denied that charge. He said leaders of the mosque in Westbury, N.Y. had tried to pass blame for the attacks on a Zionist conspiracy and had not cooperated with law enforcement officers investigating potential terrorist activities.
“When I have police telling me the Muslim community is not coming forward and cooperating, I have a responsibility to speak out. The Muslim leaders have to be more responsible and there should be new leadership,” he said.
King said he supported President Bush’s use of images of ground zero in campaign ads.
“Considering all that’s gone on over the past two and a half years since Sept. 11, how it is defining our politics, diplomacy and foreign policy, the president would be remiss in not mentioning Sept. 11,” King said. “But he’s doing it in an understated way.”
When asked about Bush’s support for a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage, King said he was in favor but urged caution. Individual states should first be given time to consider the issue and pass laws on their own, he said.
King, of Seaford, briefly considered challenging Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer in Schumer’s re-election bid, but later dropped the plan. He is now the only Republican congressman between Manhasset and Montauk.