Congressmen disagree over 'premise' of hearing on radicalization of Muslim America
March 6th, 2011
09:40 AM ET
9 years ago

Congressmen disagree over 'premise' of hearing on radicalization of Muslim America

Washington (CNN)– Republican Rep. Peter King of New York says "something from within" the Muslim community is a "threat" to America that needs to be explored.

The issue will be discussed in the upcoming week as King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, holds hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. Democratic Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, openly disagreed with the premise of the hearings as King gave a preview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley of what will be discussed Thursday on the Hill.

"I challenge the basic premise of the hearings," Ellison said. "We should deal with radicalization and violent radicalization, but that singling out one community is the wrong thing to do."

But for King, the goal is to investigate the source of the "threat." He compared the goal of the hearings to investigating the Mafia within the Italian community or going after the Russian mob in "the Russian community in Brighton Beach and Coney Island."

"We're talking about al Qaeda," King said. "There's been self radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there and that's where the threat is coming from at this time."

Ellison discussed "worry" among Muslim Americans who are concerned about the "breadth" of the investigation. He agreed with King's right to investigate radicalization as the chairman for the Homeland Security Committee, but cautioned that "To say we're going to investigate a– religious minority, and a particular one, I think is the wrong course of action to take."

And though Ellison is opposed to the premise behind the hearings, he said he will testify. "I believe in engaging the process. I think you've got to be involved in the conversation, you've got to offer an alternative view."

But he also voiced concern over whether the hearings would fuel Islamaphobia, saying, "I don't want [terrorists] to be able to stand up and claim …we told you, America is at war with Islam. That's one of their main recruiting arguments."

"We need to be careful about how we use the instrumentality of the government in investigative hearings," Ellison added.

For the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, the hearing will speak for itself. "I would say, let the people watch the hearing and decide then," King said.

"It's going to go forward," he said, "and it's going to talk about something which is not being talked about publicly which I think should be."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. jon

    Brings back memories of McCarthyism. King appears to be a bigot.

    March 6, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Edward

    When Pit Bulls stop attacking and killing children, they will lose their bad reputation. When Muslims stop killing and attacking people, they too will lose their bad reputation. Your move Islam.

    March 6, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    Apparently the people in Mr. KIng's district think they are being well-served by this man. I'm just wondering why? It seems to me he is preparing for a "witch hunt." History has shown us these things don't end well.

    March 6, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    terry, va – just one more thing. We did not learn about radical Japanese when they bombed Pearl Harbor or radical muslims when they attacked on 9/11. That's a total rewrite of history. We were at war with the Japanese at the time they bombed Pearl Harbor. Clinton warned Bush about bin Laden before Bush was sworn in. Then Bush got a memo on August 6, 2001, when a CIA officer flew to Crawford TX, where Bush was on vacation, to warn of an imminent threat by Al Qaeda. And our illustrious president told the guy now he has his a$$ covered. Lovely. You don't get to rewrite history. It's documented.

    March 6, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. unretired05

    Is this Joseph McCarthy reincarnated? Looks are similar, rhetoric is too, just a different target. OOOps can I say target?

    March 6, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Root and stem

    Why should anyone fear an investigation into the Islamist in America? They are at they point of the spear of every bloody conflict on this planet. Only Progressives like Obama, Napolitano and their allies within the jidhadist community have a problem with unveiling the beast within Islam.

    March 6, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. B

    The same kind of madness happened to Japanese Americans and they wound up in concentration camps and lost All of they're worldly possessions. This country and in particular Politicians have a very short memory of atrocities taking place here in America !
    Before that, the Black people, and the Native Americans. When will the HATE mongering stop. We like to call ourselves # one, in Hate, we are probably getting there.

    March 6, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. merri702

    I voted for Obama and was rabidly anti-Bush and i did not trust Peter King. BUT I cannot wait for these hearings to begin as ISLAM is a scourge that has to be exposed for what it is. A political movement bent on destroying the very core of our society. People Freedom. Mohammed was nothing but a warlord who plagiarized the Bible and crafted hos own doctrine of oppression, and suppression of other religions for his gain. Just because he lived 1400 years ago, does not make him smarter than us. He started a cult .. and it grew thru wars, conquest, and the population explosion of Muslims. Europe in centuries past saw him for what he was, and had to constantly fight his and his followers off. Now we're under attack. And we better drop these 20th century niceties, because Islam doesn't care about your niceties. They just want you gone!! Just like the nazis

    March 6, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Sue

    Thank you Rep King for looking out for the security of our citizens and our country. Only the blind, clueless, and gullible Obama drones, do not recognize the threats of radical Muslims in our country, and throughout the world as well. We have had many recent close calls that were stopped--not due to Obama or DHS-but only due to stupid mistakes by the radicals. Look at every country in the Middle East, the majority in the US do not want to live like that. Rep King will be supported by the majority in the country. The liberals can just put on their Obama jammies, and go cry in their pillows.

    March 6, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Root and stem

    Mr. Obama and his Progressive allies in Congress have the spirit and soul of mass murderers. The American people demand to be protected from Islamic terrorists and the Dems/Progressives/Obamists hold them in contempt for daring to resist the establishment of Islamic rule in America. That is the only thing that can explain the Obamists fight to halt Congreemen King's hearings.

    March 6, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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