Rep. Peter King, officially named the next House Homeland Security Committee chairman Wednesday, said he will hold hearings to examine what he described as "the radicalization of the Muslim community in this country."
Now the committee's top Republican, King also has said he'll examine controversial Obama administration policies on issues including closing Guantánamo and civilian trials of terror detainees.
King (R-Seaford) said in an interview he plans to invite experts on the Muslim community to discuss "the extent to which the Muslim leadership cooperates or doesn't cooperate with law enforcement and the extent to which prisoners are radicalized by Islamic jihad."
The Muslim hearings will come immediately after a session to get "an overall view" of the nation's security, he said.
King, who because of term limits can't serve as chairman after 2013, said his time with the committee gavel will be "intense. I'm going to try to get 10 years work into two years."
King said since he gave up his committee chairmanship when Democrats took the House majority in January 2007 the nation is more secure from foreign attacks. "It's pretty safe to say that we're much more secure from attacks from overseas," he said. However, "now there is much more of an internal threat from people who are here legally."
One Long Island community leader contacted last night disagreed with King's assessment that the community doesn't cooperate with authorities. Habeeb Ahmed, chairman of the board of the Islamic Center of Long Island, said Muslims do speak out against acts of terrorism but it's underreported.
Many people are unaware of the cooperation that goes on, he said. "It would be very difficult to satisfy a person who has already had his mind made up about my community," Ahmed said, adding that by making such generalized statements, King was helping fuel anger against all Muslims.
"People are on eggshells and he's not doing a service by releasing these statements that Muslims don't cooperate," he said.