Pushing back against a firestorm of criticism, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Thursday his hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S. shouldn’t be viewed as an assault on any particular faith, but rather an effort to highlight a violent offshoot of Islam that continues to threaten the nation.
Amid charges of “Islamophobia,” a few angry outbursts and tearful testimony from a lawmaker who shared the story of a young Muslim paramedic who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, Chairman Peter T. King said the hearing is the first in a series that will examine the inroads Islamic extremism has made among American Muslims.
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He told the audience packed into the tiny hearing room that “we must be fully aware that homegrown radicalization is part of al Qaeda’s strategy to continue attacking the United States.”
“To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee — to protect America from a terrorist attack,” the New York Republican said, noting a recent Pew Poll that showed that 15 percent of Muslim-American men between the age of 18 and 29 could support suicide bombings. “This is the segment of the community al Qaeda is attempting to recruit.”
Mr. King noted that a top White House official recently encouraged him to follow through with the hearing and said the president welcomes Congress‘ involvement in the issue — a point President Obama’s spokesman verified later in the day.
Read More at the WashingtonTimes.com by Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times