King Vows Hearings on Muslims

By Jennifer Epstein
|  Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM EDT
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King Vows Hearings on Muslims

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With Rudy Giuliani not running, and the re-emergence of terror issues in the city, the time is ripe for King to be a contender.

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Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is vowing to hold hearings next year on what he calls the “radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism.”

The incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said he plans to examine the “disconnect” between law-abiding American Muslims and the homegrown terrorists who have plotted failed attacks from Times Square to Portland, Ore.

With hearings in his committee, “I will do all I can to break down the wall of political correctness and drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization,” King wrote in a Newsday op-ed.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told POLITICO he fears the hearings will become a “witch hunt.” Any hearing King holds, Hooper said, “is just going to further marginalize American Muslims and demonize Islam.”

Hooper said that most American Muslims are "as patriotic as everyone else," noting that potential attacks have been thwarted because of concerns expressed to law enforcement officials by Muslims about people in their own communities.

But King said he sees real threats coming from American Muslims as al-Qaeda is “recruiting Muslims living legally in the United States – homegrown terrorists who have managed to stay under the anti-terror radar screen.”

King added that he is especially concerned by imams who, he said, “acquiesce in terror or ignore the threat” by telling members of their mosques “not to cooperate with law enforcement officials."

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