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. vic nashville tn

    Let FBI handle this. Politicians stay away from this, when politicians involved they stir things up. Give more power and resources to FBI

    March 6, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Sharpton and the Dem/Liberal/Progressive folks are voicing their opposition to any examination of this group of people and their reluctance to condemn the radical side of their group. But then being anti-American and sympathizing with the terrorists fits right into their thinking.

    March 6, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Indy

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

    And the answer is...........................Republicans and their idea of foreign policy. Now you have your answer.

    March 6, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Gary

    Dear Peter, We know what you see and we know you know what you're trying to do but you just can't come out and say it and if you do say it you will be biased so we suggest you "target" every form of extreamism so that our Islamic extreamist will have the best advantage as possible and it will appear you are just doing your job in a fair manner. So, Stop compounding the words "Muslim and Extreamist" in the same sentence and just use the word "Extreamist" and make sure it is understood to mean everybody but the Muslims. Otherwise, we will post you as bigot and call for your h&*d I mean resignation and replace you with Rep Ellision or someone like him. Oh and one quesiton: Is it possible to be Muslim and NOT practice Sharia Law?

    March 6, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. NameCindy

    So this is what it looks like, how it begins. Stir up fear and loathe for a people in our community, til eventually, they'll have to be rouunded up and put in camps for "their protection?"

    Radical Japanese / Radical Muslims. When will we ever learn? When will we ever... learn?

    March 6, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. chef dugan

    King is absolutely right. He's catching flack because he's going against the Democrats religion as stated in their Bible of Political Correctness.

    March 6, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Seattle Sue

    King is a male counterpart to Bachman. they both are radical, lying type of people. If either told me it was raining outside, I would have to go outside and check to be sure they were not lying again.

    March 6, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. chris24

    frankly, i'm just as worried about the radicalization of the christian
    right. you won't find a more judgemental group on the planet.

    look at gomer pyle (huckabee) a former minister who manipulates
    the truth like he owns it. the far right in any releigion is scary.

    if you think you own the truth (and only you) you are a radical.

    March 6, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Raptor

    Calling it a hearing on a religion is very counter productive. There have been extreme Christian churches lately that have sponsored intimidation and fear, but I don't hear a call for a hearing on the Cristian religion. The hearing should rather invite members and leader of the Muslim community and have a healthy debate on his to counter act radicalization, and extremism. The subject hearing will only antagonize more Muslims , create more distrust towards the US government, and ultimately limit the willingness of the Muslim community to help resolve muslim radicalization. Yes there are some radicals out there, and we want it to stop and reverse, but the proposed hearing won't do anything to stop and reverse.

    March 6, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. Michael

    King should be more worried about the radicalization within the Christian community. Bigotry, intollerence, being judgemental all go against God's teachings. The worship of money and the pandering to the wealthy are all condemneed in the New Testament. Clean up your own house Mr. King.

    March 6, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Michael

    Have you ever wondered why every Muslim country is a Human-rights disaster? Misogyny, Homophobia and Pedophilia are codified into Islamic jurisprudence via The Quran itself and the Hadith. Are you familiar with the Islamic concepts of "TAQIYYA", "KITMA", "JIZYA" or "DHIMMI"? Do you understand what "Abrogation" means in the Quran? No? Go educate yourselves.
    The Jihadis are alive and well in America and using our own systems of fair government against us, and many organizations on The Left are in collusion with them when they should know better. Check out these films online; "The Third Jihad", "FITNA", "What the West Needs to Know"

    March 6, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. terry, va

    Obummie won't say anything about Muslims because he is a closet Muslim. His dad was and he went to Indonesia where he was Muslim. He won't do anything to upset them. As a matter of fact, cow-tails to them. His administration won't even use the words Muslim terrorist. He slapped the face of the English government when he returned Winston Churchill's bust because of his belief that his Muslim dad was mistreated as a citizen of a colony of Great Britain. Face it.....Obummie is a closet Muslim. Maybe he will come out of the closet if he gets elected again under his repeal of "don't ask don't tell"

    March 6, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Bill

    I think this type of discussion about the radicalization of Islam is very nessasary. Like it or not it is the most viable threat in the world. Religion is more likely to move the masses than a political cause, because politics are regional. Political correctness and not wanting to hurt anyones feelings are the principal set back for the war on terror, the "minority" of radical muslims have managed to terrorize the world very effectively, and this fact needs to be addressed in a more in depth way. I wish for the success of this hearing in hopes it will prompt more in other nations.

    March 6, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Ken in NC

    Rep. King is as stupid as is his idea for this hearing. What he is about to do is stir up hate towards a group of people he is scared of because they do not worship as he does. He is also going to destroy the most credible source of information law enforcement has for uncovering radical Muslims groups and uncovering their plots. That having been said, after this hearing is completed, he should go after Hispanics to uncover the drug lords in their culture and then maybe go after the White race to uncover plots by radicals like the Uni-bomber and Tim McVeigh and GOD knows he can't leave out the Catholic Church to find out how and why they are breeding grounds for priest that sexually take advantage of little boys. Rep King is a man on a mission to find or make the Utopia which is a life that is as King says. In reality he is nothing more than another fool with all the wrong ideas that is supported by many other fools that chose him to be their mouth piece.

    March 6, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. annie s

    This is what happens when right wing conservative Republicans are put in charge of something – a rush to bring hatred and fear to the masses. So far, with Republican control of the House, we've had attacks on women's health, reproductive rights and access to care. We've had a vow to make sure gays continued to be discriminated against in this country. We've had budget proposals that would cost the nation 700,000 middle class jobs. We've had the vilification of teachers and all union members. And now, we have the official demonization of every American of the Muslim faith. Yep, good job voters. I hope you're proud.

    March 6, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. SurRy

    Not interested in investigating whether war crimes were committed by Cheney, Bush, et al. Not interested in investigating whether a US Supreme Court Justice lied about salary his wife received from a right-wing organization, and paid trips he received from right-wing groups that appear before him. Not interesting in investigating Scott Walker's actions. But Muslims in the US? Get the subpoenas ready!

    March 6, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Justin

    What about white extremist groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation? What about African American extremist groups like the Black Panthers? What about Eco extremists groups like the Earth Liberation Front? What about religous extremists groups like the Westboro Baptist Church? Extremists come in all flavors, colors and sizes.

    March 6, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. terry, va

    @ NameCindy...we learned about radical Japanese when they bombed Pearl Harbor and we learned about radial Muslims on 9/11. My hope is that Obummie doesn't learn more about his Muslim buddies when they blow up the White House.

    March 6, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Tony in Maine

    Conservative demagoguery is more like it.

    Where were all the righteous, law abiding Republicans when pro-lifers were murdering doctors and blowing up women's clinics. I heard not one word about an investigation of Christian fundamentalist churches – which is as it should be. Investigating a huge group just because you can wrap yourself in the flag, clutch the Bible and a cross while you make stump rants , all in an effort to stir up the tiny-brained, is a really bad idea.

    March 6, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The rise of right-wing Christian hate groups, continued hostility by the Westboro Baptist Church, continued violence against gays, blacks, immigrants by right-wing extremists, THOSE are just 'isolated incidents...' But muslims even existing in America, that's radical!

    March 6, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. diridi

    America, if you have any brain, just Vote for "Barak Obama". Listen, economy is on right track, unemployment is going down,only thing is we need to concentrate on Manufacturing, and Energy efficiency and stringent immigration....I am voting for Obama in 2012....I do not care, nor do i trust Re-Pig-licans....they are the real idiots, thugs, and bastards of America...

    March 6, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. terry, va

    @ Justin...I agree that extremist come in all flavors, colors and sizes including the people we call congress. They are trying to please all freeloaders, deadbeats, and bums by giving the taxpayers money to them under their socialistic policies. @ Annie S...if the repubs don't step up and stop all the waste and handouts for those that can't work, our nation will go down the toilet. 1-2% of us already pay 41% of the taxes. 47% of us pay nothing. Easy to see why congress focuses on handouts isn't it?

    March 6, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. terry, va

    @ Annie S... that should be for those that CAN WORK..not can't. I need to hire a typist. Obummie can claim it was his hire under stimulus.

    March 6, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    terry, va – how do you propose that all those "deadbeats and bums" get back to work when your party destroyed jobs? And why is it that I never (NEVER) see you talk about those handouts our government gives to billion dollar industries like big oil, or those multi-billion dollar corporations that pay not taxes whatsoever. And what about those extra bonus tax breaks that all the millionaires and billionaires get whenever there's a Republican in the White House, that never have to be paid for with something else. Why is it always the "bums" that pay no taxes? And speaking of that, what about all the give aways to those wealthy benefactors, paid for by taxpayers, while old people have to worry about giving up some of their SS and Medicare, and poor people can just go without heat in the winter or medical care whenever? I won't be name-calling here, it's against my nature. Just look up the word hypocrite.

    March 6, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. terry, va

    @ diridi...the bastard comment was over the top. I disagree with everything that Obummie stands for and a lot of what the dumbocraps stand for, but to call a political party bastards is not civilized.

    March 6, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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