Politics

Eric Holder’s stereotyping of Muslims irresponsible, say critics

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Attorney General Eric Holder is stereotyping Muslims in America, and his willful ignorance about the religious roots of Islamic terrorism endangers Americans and marginalizes Muslim reformers, say experts on Islamist terror groups.

That assessment was prompted by Holder’s announcement during a Tuesday congressional hearing that American Muslims “have the same desires that we all have.”

His declaration came during an answer about the training manuals used by some FBI trainers, which have drawn furious criticism from Islamist lobby groups. Those manuals, Holder said, contain training lessons that “can really undermine, really undermine, the really substantial outreach efforts that we have made and really have a negative impact on our ability to communicate effectively, as we have in the past, with this community.”

“I almost hesitate to say ‘this community,’ because the reality is that we’re talking about Americans, Americans citizens, who have the same desires that we all have, who want their kids to be safe, who want the opportunities that this great country has to offer them,” Holder added.

Holder’s blanket statement about Muslims’ desires “is ethnocentric in the sense that he is imposing his own values upon people who may have, and often demonstrably do have, vastly different perspectives,” Robert Spencer, the author of several books on Islam, told The Daily Caller.

By ignoring evidence of Islamist groups in the Muslim community, Holder is “denying the [FBI’s] agents — and, derivatively, the public — the tools necessary to distinguish authentic Islamic moderates from the Islamists who pose as moderates,” Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, told TheDC in a separate interview. McCarthy successfully tried Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven other Islamist terrorists in 1995.

“Most rank-and-file Muslims in the United States are, in fact, patriotic Americans … [but] the only way we will ever empower real moderates is by drawing that distinction and marginalizing the sharia supremacists,” McCarthy said to The Daily Caller.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Holder criticized arguments that Islam’s tenets spur violence, and that adherence to Islamic rituals and dress are a marker of “possible extremism.”

Those claims are “flat-out wrong,” Holder said.