Reporting Tony Aiello
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long Island Congressman Peter King is facing threats — and getting extra security.
But he vowed Monday to forge ahead with controversial hearings on radicalization in the Muslim-American community, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
King was heavily criticized at a weekend rally in Times Square.
“American Muslims are part of the American family and are Americans, too!” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said.
But the congressman was strongly supported at a smaller rally nearby.
“Imam Rauf and his friends are trying to create a phony trumped-up civil rights movement,” one King supporter said.
The wedge issue is Chairman King’s decision to call a Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday titled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community — and that Community’s Response.”
“I want to show the extent of that radicalization, how it happens. Also whether or not the Muslim community is fully cooperating,” Rep. King said.
Every Homeland Security chair gets protection, but King’s has been stepped up in the wake of threats — some generated by the controversy over the hearings.
“I’m getting a lot of hostile phone calls now, but the main threats I’m getting are from overseas,” Rep. King said.
King said he views his effort in the same vein as 1995 Senate hearings into the white militia movement, which took place right after the Oklahoma City terror bombing.
“And they were gathering support, and I thought it was important to investigate them,” King said.
King also said he promises to hear from a wide-range of voices, including Muslims that oppose the hearings, but intend to participate.
Among the figures invited to testify by Democrats is the sheriff of Los Angeles County, who is seen as a close ally of the Muslim community.
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