White House Says U.S. Muslims Are Critical to Fight Against Terrorism

By Dschabner

Mar 6, 2011 7:41pm

ABC News' Mary K. Bruce reports:

The White House today commended Muslim Americans for their role in fighting violent extremism, just days before the House plans hearings to investigate the “radicalization” of the U.S. Muslim community.

“The most effective voices against al Qaeda’s warped worldview and interpretation of Islam are other Muslims,” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said at an interfaith forum held at a Northern Virginia Muslim community center tonight.

McDonough praised the members of the community for taking “an unequivocal stand against terrorism” and was adamant that the United States does not practice “guilt by association.”

“You’ve condemned terrorism around the world against people of other faiths … In so doing, you’ve sent a message that those who perpetrate such horrific attacks do not represent you or your faith, and that they will not succeed in pitting believers of different faiths against one another,” he said.

McDonough’s comments come as Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.

Earlier today, King repeated his contention that "something from within" the Muslim community is a threat to America and needs to be explored.

"We're talking about al Qaeda. We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there. And that's where the threat is coming from at this time,” King told CNN.

Critics say the hearings risk demonizing the Muslim community by targeting one faith over another. While McDonough did not mention King or his hearings directly, he made clear “to protect our nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.”

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