Rep. Peter King said in his latest broadcast appearance yesterday that “the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are very supportive of the United States” — in contrast to Europe, where several Muslim communities are more isolated and hostile, thus helping make ISIS a bigger threat.
King (R-Seaford) famously aroused attention and controversy in recent years in statements and hearings on Muslim radicalization. So during a radio show on WNYM (970-AM), host John Catsimatidis asked the 12-term lawmaker his take on security alerts in Europe.
“We are at least for now in a better position than Europe because it’s harder for ISIS to get here” — versus fighters’ relatively easy access to France and Belgium via Turkey.
Next November, amid a presidential race, King faces re-election in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes part of his decades-long Nassau base but also Suffolk communities added in the last redistricting. Suffolk Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) — recently re-elected as presiding officer — plans to challenge King at the polls. In 2014, King got nearly 65 percent against challenger Patricia Maher.
While local and national Democrats have given little priority to unseating him in the past, King’s positions during an election cycle stand to attract some extra parsing.
As Long Island’s senior congressman, King remains a member of the House Homeland Security Committee which he had chaired. He maintains a nearly constant media presence on the topic.
“Listen, we’re not perfect [in the U.S.],” he said on the air yesterday. “But the thing is, virtually every group is able ultimately to assimilate into society — maybe slower in some instances than others, but for instance, I don’t think Muslims in this country feel oppressed. . . . We’re a country of foreigners.”
In one 2011 interview he said, “Whether it’s pressure, whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate [with U.S. authorities] anywhere near to the extent that it should.”
Yesterday he said: “While I have been critical of some in the Muslim community for not being more cooperative, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are very supportive of the United States.”