King to defend 'radicalization' hearingBy TOM BRUNE
January 30, 2011
WASHINGTON - Rep. Peter King is taking to the airwaves Sunday to defend his planned hearing on homegrown Muslim "radicalization" from escalating criticism by American Islamic groups and liberal advocates.
King (R-Seaford) will appear on PIX News Close-Up at 6 a.m. on WPIX/11 and on America's News HQ at 11 a.m. on the Fox News Network to talk about the hearing, which stirred controversy as soon as he announced it last month as the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Since then, critics increasingly have complained about King's focus solely on Muslims, and not other groups.
Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal and education group, last week called the hearing "inflammatory and even dangerous."
"What is particularly disturbing is that he's questioning the loyalty of American Muslims and seeking to cast a net of suspicion on an entire faith community," Khera said.
The liberal National Security Network on Friday called the hearing "not only ineffective, but counterproductive" because it alienates rather than encourages Muslims.
But King said the hearing is necessary because al-Qaida and related foreign groups in the past two years have begun seeking out Muslims and other Americans to attack the United States to get around security put in place after the 9/11 attacks.
"They are recruiting people not on the radar screen," King said. "I don't believe the Muslim leadership [in the United States] is sufficiently active in helping authorities."
King rejected a request by the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, to broaden the hearing to include other types of homegrown radicalization in the wake of the shooting in Arizona that wounded a congresswoman.
King has not set a hearing date, an aide said.