WASHINGTON — North Carolina's Rep. Sue Myrick wants America to "wake up" and stop allowing terrorism to proliferate — and if that means revoking the passport of a former U.S. president or examining the preaching of prison chaplains, that's what she's prepared to do.
The Charlotte Republican on Friday released a list of 10 items she hopes will help peel back the layers on how radical elements of Islam might be infiltrating the military, school rooms and other elements of society. She also wants to stop the government from supporting terrorist organizations through financial investments and military sales.
Earlier this week, she called for President Jimmy Carter's passport to be revoked because he met with Hamas, a Palestinian group that the U.S. government says supports terrorism.
"His actions reward terrorists, lend support and provide legitimacy to their belief that violence will eventually get them what they want," Myrick said. Carter could not be reached on Friday.
The co-founder of the House anti-terrorism caucus has spent an increasing amount of time trying to tackle what she views as threats posed at home by extremists, an issue that fuels her commitment to deporting illegal immigrants.
One candidate who's trying to prevent her re-election this year, Democrat Harry Taylor of Charlotte, has questioned her priorities and said she has spent too little time fixing the health-care system, solving the energy crisis and helping her constituents' every-day lives.
Myrick said her views are in sync with her district's.
"When I talk to them at home about this stuff, they get it," she said of her terrorism concerns. "It's just that it is complicated. People would rather watch `American Idol.' "
Myrick acknowledged that her 10-point plan, "Wake Up America," might hit stumbling blocks in Washington. But she thinks it's time to start demanding answers. She said she was releasing her agenda now after carefully researching which issues had the potential for solutions.
"We put this together really to try to get a dialogue going," she said. "It's a beginning point."
Among her goals is to investigate Muslim military and prison chaplains who were endorsed by a man now in prison for funding terrorism, and examine the nonprofit status of an organization partially funded by Saudis.
That group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says her assumptions are wrong.
"It sounds like your usual laundry list of talking points you can see on anti-Muslim hate sites on the Internet," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group.
Though she's steadfast, Myrick has said in the past that she understands some folks might view her concerns that terrorists are infiltrating the United States as over the top, but that she bases her work on research and the advice of experts.
"This could all sound fanatical if people don't know about it," she said in an interview. "I'm not a radical person."
Political science professor Ted Arrington of UNC Charlotte said she should be applauded for tackling a tough issue. It's up to others, he said, to judge whether she's doing it in a way that plays on people's fears.
Myrick's 10-point plan
1. Investigate all military chaplains endorsed by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was imprisoned for funding a terrorist organization.
2. Investigate all prison chaplains endorsed by Alamoudi.
3. Investigate the selection process of Arabic translators working for the Pentagon and FBI.
4. Examine the nonprofit status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
5. Make it an act of sedition or solicitation of treason to preach or publish materials that call for the deaths of Americans.
6. Audit sovereign wealth funds in the United States.
7. Cancel scholarship student visa program with Saudi Arabia until they reform their text books, which she claims preach hatred and violence against non-Muslims.
8. Restrict religious visas for imams who come from countries that don't allow reciprocal visits by non-Muslim clergy.
9. Cancel contracts to train Saudi police and security in U.S. counterterrorism tactics.
10. Block the sale of sensitive military munitions to Saudi Arabia.