NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —Rep. Peter King, who has been criticized in the past for broad statements linking Muslims to terrorism, visited Suffolk County’s largest mosque Friday afternoon.
King accepted an invitation to attend prayer services at Masjid Darul Quran, the Muslim Center of Long Island in Bay Shore.
The applause was polite, but not enthusiastic as King tried to clarify past statements about terrorism that some people perceived as “anti-Muslim,” such as his call for surveillance of the Muslim community, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
“I said the same thing when the FBI was going after the mafia, they went to the Italian-American community,” King said. “The overall majority of Muslims are good people, outstanding people.”
Muslim leaders are hoping the visit will lead to a better relationship.
Some congregants were satisfied with King’s explanation.
“I think to some extent, when we question him more we will have it further clarified,” one man said.
“Peter King, I had a really bad feeling about him, the way he did the statements in the past, but talking to him, hearing his speech, it’s totally clear, we don’t think he’s a bad person,” another man said.
King, a member and former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, denied the visit is aimed at getting votes in his district, which was reconfigured two years ago, 1010 WINS reported.
The mosque is part of King’s redrawn congressional district.