Rep. Peter King: ‘It Might Be Politically Correct,’ But Will Not Broaden Out Hearing

By Kate McCarthy

Mar 9, 2011 9:50am

He may have stirred up a hornets' nest but that doesn’t seem to matter to the Chairman of the House Homeland Security committee who is holding a hearing tomorrow to investigate the “extent of radicalization” in the American Muslim community and whether they are doing enough to fight it.

“It might be politically correct but it makes no sense at all to be talking about other types of so-called extremism when the major threat to the United States today is coming from al Qaeda and al Qaeda is attempting to recruit in this country,” Rep. Peter King told me.

Despite being accused of modern day McCarthyism, King is refusing to broaden it out to include other sources of terrorism, telling me it would “water down the hearing.”

“When you investigate everybody you investigate nobody,” the New York congressman said.

King cited Attorney General Eric Holder when he told my colleague Pierre Thomas that these types of threats keep him up at night. 

But Holder did not single out Muslims in that statement, and a recent study from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security says that approximately 40 percent of Muslims suspected of plotting attacks were turned in by fellow Muslims.

King called the report “very misleading” because it leaves out terrorist financing cases and said that members of New York law enforcement have told him that they do not receive cooperation from the Muslim-American community when it comes to investigating terror threats.

But despite that claim tomorrow’s witness list does not include any law enforcement officials. Instead members of the Muslim-American community will testify about their experiences.

“I will have people from the Muslim community who will say how when they went to law enforcement how Imams attempted to stop them. How they were threatened when they did want to report, when the FBI began investigations how the Imams in their mosques told them not to cooperate,” King said. “These are the people on the ground, the main witnesses are going to be Muslims, people living in the community, showing how they are intimidated, showing how their families are being radicalized and how going to the Imams and other leaders and groups such as CAIR are working against them. So to me that is much more effective evidence rather than having some law enforcement person talking about statistics.”

So is King worried about a backlash in the Muslim community?

“No,” he said. “In a democracy the idea is to get the facts out there and let the people decide.”

George Stephanopoulos

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