Groups Protest Rep. Peter King’s Next Round Of Muslim Radicalization Hearings

WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Members of several New York organizations Tuesday decried the next round of hearings by Rep. Peter King on what he calls the radicalization of the Muslim-American community.

King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, has scheduled a Wednesday hearing in Washington focusing on radicalization in U.S. prisons. He said he plans to call several law enforcement experts to testify on recent examples of terrorist recruitment among inmates.

“This is a real concern; this is a real issue,” King said in a telephone interview following a news conference by the group Long Island Neighbors for American Values. The group is a coalition of religious leaders and civic groups who contend King’s hearings are fostering negative stereotypes.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports: Islamic Leaders Want To Be A Part Of The Solution

“Unfortunately, these people are living in denial,” King said of his foes. “Al-Qaida is attempting to recruit in our country and it is a reality we cannot afford to hide from.”

Among those speaking at the news conference Tuesday was an imam who works as a chaplain at a county jail on Long Island. Imam Isa Abdul Kareem, who said he converted to Islam, disputed King’s contention that American Muslims have not done enough to cooperate with law enforcement, arguing there is zero tolerance for anyone attempting to harm Americans.

“If we found anyone in our community committing an act of terrorism, by the time the police got there the matter would be settled and there would be one less terrorist,” he said.

“My committment is to America,” Abdul Kareem told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “I’m not going to allow anyone to come from overseas to do anything to the country that I was born in.”

Sister Jeanne Clark of Pax Christi Long Island, who said she has served time in jail for committing acts of civil disobedience, said King’s focus on prisons was misdirected.

“Language is important,” she said. “Prisoner, Muslim, radicalized terrorism. Saying these words together in a sentence instills fear and mistrust.”

Some of the same groups also protested in March, when King held the first hearing on the topic.

Leaders at the Islamic Center of Long Island have invited King to partake in an open discussion about Islam.

“We are all aware that a problem exists. Just singling out a single community, isolates that community, marginalizes that community and the community which could be part of the solution is not doing all it can to address the problem, ” Farouk Kahn said. “It would be a lot better, a lot more productive, if we were part of the discussion, part of the solution, and part of developing a policy of how we can address the radicalization of not just the Muslims.”

King said it has been impossible to work with those at the Islamic center, Hall reports.

The congressman said the next hearing after Wednesday will likely be held in late July and will focus on reports of Americans joining al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based offshoot of al-Qaida that has been linked to attempted attacks on U.S. targets, including the foiled Christmas 2009 bombing of an airliner over Detroit and explosives-laden parcels found on cargo flights last year.

Do you think the hearings are making a difference? Should Peter King continue to hold them? Let us know below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Sophia Hall
  • sk

    i think King ha s a lot of courage standing up tp terror in this country. There is no point in denying that there are mnay terrorsits in this country because many of them have expressed taht very clearly! We have beeen attacked already by muslim americans, and ther ehave been plots as well that were prevented! so what is alll the negativity towards KIng? he is just doing his job.. protecting Americans! what is there to complain about that?

  • Bruce Goldensteinberg

    Every member of every group that protests Peter King’s efforts to expose RADICAL islam should be investigated for treason. What is objectionable about wanting to root out terrorism? I would go after CAIR, ACLU and their associates.

  • G

    This investigation needs to be broadened. Abdul Kareem may be part of the threat to America. Is it not the Islamic Imans overseas fostering the hatred for America? Why then, can we not think that it is also happening with the Iman’s in America. They are not to be trusted, period. They breed hatred of all that are not Muslim. They need to prove otherwise. Inteligence so far shows they are supporting and teaching extremists to hate America.

  • Shirley Ranz

    Waste of taxpayers money. Nothing is going to come out of these hearings except seeing King’s face on TV and in the newspapers.

  • Jessie

    Congressman King is simply seeking headlines. He should stop wasting our taxpayer dollars on his hate filled “Muslim radicalization hearings”‘. He should be addressing the serious issues impacting his Long Island district :absurdly high property taxes, unemployment and education. Now King has started a Gingrich, Palin “pretend run for President”. He should stop his egocentric nonsense, begin to govern responsibly or, do everyone a favor get out of town! .

  • Steve

    NJ Bill – go to hell!

  • Hardy Rection

    Maybe Peter King can next hold hearings against caucasian judeo-Christians without high school diplomas, who hold construction jobs in New York City. (and who provided the backbone of people protesting against the so-called Ground Zero Mosque). . . there have been some fatal construction accidents here, so we should hold hearings on their lack of competence

    – oh wait, people like that “FIT THE PROFILE” of the Long Island idiots who are actually STUPID enough to vote for Peter King. (ahhhhh – they think it’s ok to profile all Muslim Americans – how do they like MY profiling? Not pleasant, eh?).

    • WTC_Family

      No, your “profiling” isn’t pleasant, because those protesting the badly-placed mosque were mostly relatives of people murdered on 9/11. Like me. If you despise all of us, you are a mean-spirited little twerp.

      I favored the mosque, as one of 3 in the area, but it’s planned location on a narrow, dark, awkward street puzzled me. Battery Park City was better for family parking, and the same distance from Ground Zero. Local imams and rabbis were also puzzled.

      People converted to “Islam” in prison are normally converted by minimally-educated ex-convicts/convicts. They’re usually “Nation of Islam,” not family-oriented mainstream Islam. Unfortunately, convicts are by definition stupid and violent — otherwise, few would be in prison! Rep. King, like a stopped clock, is right once in a while, but these hearings do absolutely nothing.

      Instead, prisons should only allow properly educated imams to preach and teach. A rabbi, priest, or minister must have credentials. A GED teacher must be experienced and educated!

  • dtc3

    What a joke. This moron lives in fear of our muslim brothers. Sack him now. We don’t need any more haters in public positions.

  • nyc

    Please don’t stop Congressman King ! When I see these Iman’s demonstrating against their radical muslim counterparts that are creating death and destruction I will belive they are on the side of democracy. So far ,I have not seen it ! I applaud you Congressman King to continue fighting the special interests groups !

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