GOP Rep. King defends hearings on Muslim radicalization, terrorism ties

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers split along party lines at a hearing Wednesday (June 20) meant to gauge Muslim responses to earlier hearings on the “radicalization” of American Muslims.

Testimony by four witnesses was overshadowed by Republicans who defended the four prior hearings and Democrats who questioned whether they were misguided or actually harmful to Muslim Americans.

Short on new data but long on rhetoric, lawmakers argued both sides of the same statistics and relied heavily on anecdotes.

“The overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans, yet the reality is that the Islamist terror threat comes from the community,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democratic member, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said he hoped the hearings did not increase hate crimes or religious profiling, and worried that America’s image abroad is of a nation at war with Islam.

GOP Rep. Peter King on Wednesday defended hearings on the so-called radicalization of American Muslims and how that potentially leads to terrorism – amid continued arguments about the need and appropriateness of such hearings.

The meeting was the fifth such for the House Committee on Homeland Security — led by the New York congressman and created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.