ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports:
Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., one of two Muslims serving in the House of Representatives, joined senior religious leaders from various religious communities, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism, in rebuking today’s hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims, saying it proved to be a setback for the country.
“At a time when we should be actively working together to strengthen relationships across the Muslim world to help fight extremism, Representative King’s hearings risk tearing down some of the bridges that we have built,” Carson said in a press conference. “These hearings weaken the very foundation upon which this country was built.”
Carson joined Congress in 2008 after winning a special election to fill the seat of his late grandmother, Congresswoman Julia Carson. Carson’s opponent in the 2010 election, Marvin Scott, was accused of attacking Carson for his Muslim faith during the campaign, but Carson won the election and held onto his seat.
The faith leaders gathered on Capitol Hill to condemn the hearing for grouping the entire Muslim community as extremists.
“We also stand shoulder to shoulder in opposing the singling out of any one religious community in a way that would cast unwarranted suspicion on that part of the American population,” Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said.”
They also acknowledged that any religious community could be singled out in the same manner as the American Muslim community.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder not only sharing a common faith but also a common fate, and we stand shoulder to shoulder recognizing that an injustice to anyone anywhere, must be the concern of everyone everywhere,” Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said.
One Muslim leader admitted that extremism may exist in some Muslim communities but argued it is not indicative of the entire Muslim population as a whole.
“Muslims are not saying it’s no problem. We do believe there’s an element that targeting our youth and our community, but we’re saying that Muslims are really engaging in this fight against violent extremism,” Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, president of the Islamic Society of North America, said.