King fends off criticism as controversial hearing approaches
March 9th, 2011
08:57 PM ET
9 years ago

King fends off criticism as controversial hearing approaches

Washington (CNN) – The witness list for a House hearing to examine radicalization in the American Muslim community includes congressmen and several prominent Muslim-Americans. But notably absent from the list is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been sharply critical of the hearing set to take place on Thursday.

House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Peter King told CNN Wednesday that he did not call the head of the Justice Department to testify because he knew that Holder would dispute what King says he hears privately from law enforcement officials - that Muslim-Americans aren’t sufficiently cooperating in anti-radicalization efforts.

Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department does have a “good relationship” with the Muslim American community, and said “tips that we have received, info that has been shared has been critical to our efforts to disrupting plots that otherwise might have occurred.”

When asked for reaction to Holder’s comments, the New York congressman told CNN, “That’s not my experience.”

“New York is the epicenter and I’m not aware of any tips that have been given in Nassau, Suffolk [counties] or New York City, that’s one, and then talking to officials around the country, I get the same complaints,” King added.

Holder suggested there is danger in focusing on a group of people as a whole rather than individuals, warning, “We don't want to stigmatize, we don't want to alienate entire communities.”

Critics have also accused King of "fear-mongering," and say Thursday’s hearing is reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's hearings into alleged Communist infiltration in the early years of the Cold War.

But King has steadfastly defended the hearing, saying it is necessary to explore the extent to which al Qaeda is trying to influence U.S. Muslims.

“I don’t want to demonize anyone either,” King said. “But talk to [Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis] McDonough. He said al Qaeda is attempting to radicalize the American Muslim community. So if we are going to look for radicalization from al Qaeda, where else would we look?”

Filed under: Peter King
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans are an embarrassment to our country. Who would have thought that the party of hate, fear, lies, billionaires, and birchers could have done so much damage.

    March 9, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Islam this year, Baptist next year, Catholic the year after, and on and on and on. Mark my word.

    Groups of people are already demonized by the republicans, and blamed for exactly what the republicans have done and are doing.

    Great job, Koch brothers - you just bought yourself a country full of unhappy people that will rise up and use whatever means it takes to get our country back from YOU and your republican pawns.

    March 9, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  3. terry, va

    Holder is a radical in the worst sense. Obummie is just a fool. King is right. End of story.

    March 9, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. blf83

    There is no excuse, no reason for these racist, hate-mongering hearings by Mr. King. And,when you compare his actions regarding the Irish Republican Army over the years, Mr.King is simply an opportunist hypocrite creating a more dangerous America. Shame!

    March 9, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. LetsBeCivil

    If Rep. King is serious then he should know there are other, better ways to handle his concerns. Either he is playing politics with a very dangerous situation or he is ignorant. Which is it? As he is proceeding at this point, he will radicalize more people than al Qaeda. He'll only enhance their efforts.

    March 9, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. BJ

    It is very clear to me that if the Republicans continue to energize their base America will no longer be America. Already they launching an all out campaign against unions and now they are going after the youth. Why, because they do not want that Black man to win again. It doesn't matter how it is spun, this is what it is all about. Oh yes, protecting the rich, the corporations. It is too bad that their supporters are intellectually challenged or either driven by biggotry. If the
    Republicans are so concerned about deficits, why are they not looking to close loop holes and big payouts to the corporate giants? If these people have their way, this will become a dictatorship.

    March 9, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. snoopsmom

    We'll just call him "Senator McCarthy." He will increase the hatred for America with his tactics.

    March 9, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. dennis

    I support Mr. King, and I don't support Mr. Holder. Americans have been living in fear ever since 9/11, and it is high time someone finally stood up to say, we've had enough! Holder and Obama are just a sand pile of empty words. They talk while the world is burning. Now Holder is out there running down a US Congressman who is only trying to get this Muslim UnderWorld revealed.

    March 9, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. Dal From California

    Mr. King is fueling anger for the right wing and tea partiers. They have nothing else to do but go and start killing. Since King has been fueling these Islamophobia we have had murders of Sikh Gentleman in Sacramento. Their only mistake was to be walking wearing turbans. It seems that the Americans cannot recognize that the right to religion is a fundamental right in the American Constitution.
    I would like to appeal to Mr. King to re read the American Constitution again.

    March 9, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. Shelly

    King is an idiot....gotta love how the GOP love to spread hate and fear. They have NO solutions to the economic recovery so they are coming up with silly games to distract the American people. The Republicans disgust me. They continue to show their hate towards minorities ( Hispanic and muslims), the gay community, the single mother( can't have abortion and can't be a single mom) , teachers, and anyone working/ middle class. They only hold hands with the Corporations that are pouring money into their coffers...because big corporate tax cuts are promised. The average American gets nothing but pain from their policies.!

    March 9, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  11. Chipster

    King = McCarthy

    Have we learned anything from the past? Where is King's investigation of radical Christian groups like the Aryan Nation or Christian Identity Movement who plan to claim the U.S. for their version of "God"? There is a word for what King is doing: Racism! Punishing those who share our principles of religious freedom could force them to defend their communities from religious prejudice. It could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    March 9, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess the question is will he be looking into local militia groups as well? Some how I don't think he will.

    March 9, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Republicans are really disgusting. He (King) does not call the Head of the American governments Justice sysytem because he knows Holder disagrees. So much for freedom of speech that holiest of holiest for Republicans Ooops forgot except only when it suits Republicans like Citizens United.
    The actual hearings are a disgrace and attack the very fundamental freedom of religion in our constitution and Bill of rights,
    We have a police force the FBI and The patriot act that allows agencies to check.
    This hearing ignores whats already in place never mind the constitutional issues involved.

    March 9, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. Fiery Buddha

    what about radicalization of christian groups and american militias? are they not a danger?

    and re: not having holder testify – does it not just smack of GOP reticence to have any opposition speak, for fear truth or reason might actually break through the rhetoric, fear and propaganda?

    March 9, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Tony

    If Congressman King held hearings on the radicalization of Baptists or Catholics there would be no end to the screaming of religious leaders across this country.

    Because the hearings will be on Islam those same leaders are relatively silent.

    This is racist and religious bigotry of the worst kind!

    March 10, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    How about a hearing on the radicalization of Christians? From the KKK to the Westboro Baptist Church to Timothy McVeigh wanna-bes to the folks driving around the US now, telling us the world will end on May 21?

    In the name of Christ, this bunch lynches people, tells everyone that God hates soldiers, blow up buildings and scare the living daylights out of others who buy into their prophecy nonsense.

    I think they are a direct threat to our country – and should be thoroughly investigated.

    March 10, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. ThinkAgain

    There are about 1.7 BILLION Muslims in the world; only a very tiny, demented fraction has decided to wage war on those who do not share their religion.

    The other 99.999999% are like everyone else and just want to live their lives in peace.

    King's "hearings" are nothing more than a stunt to fire up the paranoid, GOP "base" who think our President is a "sleeper cell" and that anyone who isn't a Christian is a threat to our country.

    Shameful and pathetic!

    March 10, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    So King thinks that every US citizen is so easily swayed that they'd let themselves become "radicalized" and a danger to our country?

    Just because the weak-willed Republican "base" believes all the drivel coming from the GOP and Fox and are continually convinced to vote and act against their own self-interest, doesn't mean the vast majority of Americans aren't capable of living around others who aren't like them without losing their identities.

    March 10, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Yet another example of the depths the GOP will go in an effort to scare people into voting for them.

    This is what happens to a political party when ALL OF ITS POLICIES ARE PROVEN FAILURES!

    They've got nothing – NOTHING – to offer the American people except fear, hatred, division and lies.

    Wake up, folks! Push back and DENOUNCE in the strongest terms King's actions and the actions of the rest of the bottom-feeding Republicans!

    And come November 2012, remember to vote Democratic – the party of the people, that actually DID something to help our country through these challenging times!

    March 10, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  20. A keen observer

    It sounds like Senator King is suffering from paranoia!

    March 10, 2011 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  21. Peter E

    For someone who was an advocate of negotiating with and appeasing TERRORISTS (the IRA) he has some gals calling on the investigation of others.

    As for radicalization of communities, how come we don't have hearings on the rise in hate groups? How come the increase in hate crime by white protestant supremacists doesn't result in hearings about right-wing white communities? How come THEY don't have to police themselves?

    March 10, 2011 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  22. KatR

    By keeping the Justice Dept. out of the hearing because the Attorney General would dispute the statements of others makes it clear that King does not seek to determine the truth by hearing both sides of the issue. He just seeks to feed the paranoia of a small group of Americans. The anti-union stance of the GOP (Wisconsin, et al) does the same. It makes me proud to be an American and read and see that so many protest this fear-mongering agenda of the radical right. This hearing will be a waste of taxpayer time and money. The McCarthy hearings ruined the lives of many good Americans in the name of fear of communism. No 'commies' were ever discovered.

    March 10, 2011 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  23. capt snarky

    The leaders of the Muslim community HAS to step up and denounce any and all attacks BY muslims as an outrage against ALL religions. They cannot remain silent. To do so implies that they condone the extremist's actions.

    March 10, 2011 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  24. 100% ETH

    The Country that has been established by Christian Communities for great future is going into WRONG DIRECTION by Muslims who are being pre-organized to destroyed America indefinitely.

    What kinds of proof do we have, if Muslims are good for America??? NONE!!!

    If America was like Saudi-Arabia, we will never had One Christian remaining at this time. Some would be forced to CONVERTED to Muslim and the rest of them would be murdered, with their SHARIA-LAW and other Rules to make it difficult for the Christians to exist in the Whole World.

    At the matter of fact, the FOUNDING of OIL, GOLD, etc., in Arabian Countries is AMERICA. Now, with their wealth and narrow-minds, they want to destroy America.

    Lessons must be learned from the Ottoman Empires up to the 9/11. If America doesn't act sooner to protect its VALUES, that has been achieved with HARDSHIPS AND SEVERAL WARS by the FOUNDING FATHERS OF GREAT AND TRUE AMERICANS, I am sure the Muslim will take over and we will be dismantled and destroyed forever.

    Clue #1, anyone who would like to enter into American Soil must be Christan!!! It's ok, we will deal some problems we might face, IN JESUS CHRIST NAME.

    March 10, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Great, a Catholic terrorist is holding hearings on Muslim terrorists. In the meantime, another racist non-Muslim is charged for the MLK bombing attempt in Spokane. Wonder if King and his Christian Taliban will investigate radicalization among his fellow phony Christians.

    March 10, 2011 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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