AAI Calls on Senate Majority Leader to Oppose Leiberman Reappointment
WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 17, 2008 - Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asking the Democratic Caucus to oppose reappointing Senator Joseph Lieberman as Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
A report, issued by the committee under the Senator’s leadership, entitled, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat”, was extremely disconcerting for the Arab American community. The false assertion that Arabs and Muslims in America are vulnerable to radicalization is misleading as well as counterproductive to engaging the Muslim American and Arab American communities in the government’s efforts to secure the freedom and safety of the country, as the report recommended.
However, it is Senator Lieberman’s association with the Islamophobic sequel to the controversial documentary, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”, that is most alarming. According to press reports about this unreleased film, “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America”, Senator Lieberman is a “major player” and is listed as such on the featured interviews page of the film’s website.
Due to the inflammatory nature of the film, and the misleading report under Senator Lieberman’s tenure of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Dr. Zogby wrote the following letter to the Majority leader articulating the community’s concern:
November 17, 2008
The Honorable Harry Reid
Office of the Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Majority Leader Reid,
On behalf of the Arab American Institute, I am writing to encourage you and your Democratic colleagues, while considering the most appropriate assignment for Senator Joseph Lieberman in the 111th Congress, to oppose his reappointment as Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
During Senator Lieberman’s tenure as Chairman, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued a misleading and controversial report entitled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat on May 8, 2008. While this committee report appropriately observed the value of outreach and engagement with Arab Americans and American Muslims as vital to securing the freedom and safety of our nation, the overall findings of the report make the dangerous and unsubstantiated claim that the threat posed by violent extremists now comes “increasingly from within” the United States and falsely characterizes Arabs and Muslims in America as “susceptible to radicalization.”
In addition to this official Senate committee report, we are deeply troubled by reports of Senator Lieberman appearing in the documentary The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America, the sequel to the highly controversial film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, that was distributed via mass mailing to 28 million households during the recent election. According to press reports about this unreleased film, Senator Lieberman is noted as a “major player” on the featured interviews page of The Third Jihad website, along with individuals well known for holding anti-Arab and Islamophobic views.
As a community based group that works extensively with Arab Americans and American Muslims across the nation, the Arab American Institute respectfully requests that the Democratic caucus ensures that the incoming Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is a senator with a demonstrated record of enhancing our nation’s security while protecting the freedoms of all Americans.
Dr. James Zogby
President, Arab American Institute
Arab American Institute
1600 K Street, NW Suite 601
Washington, DC 20006