On Thursday Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the House Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, will hold a hearing on the radicalization of Muslim communities in the U.S. He has told CNN (here) and other sources that he believes 80% of the mosques are controlled by extremists. This out-of-the-air claim has been debunked by the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University (read the study here) that discovered that when Muslims attend mosques and participate in Muslim community events, they are less likely to hold extremist opinions.
The antidote for extremism, then, is to get more Muslims to go to mosque.
It is not clear what Rep. King hopes his flimsy evidence will do for homeland security this Thursday when he holds his hearings. The WaPo faith blog reports that King will call only three witnesses---with zero expertise in Islam or terrorism.
In the meantime, France and Germany are also debating the role of Islam in their countries, as if pluralism were a brand new phenomenon in the West. The strength of democracy lies in the counterpoise between sameness and difference, and we've had bad experiences when we've let difference and the fear of difference create its own reality.