Even before Thursday’s Congressional hearing on the “radicalization” of the U.S. Muslim community, critics have been drawing comparisons to a McCarthy-esque witch-hunt led by Long Island Rep. Peter King.
But King (R-Seaford), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, pledged Wednesday that wouldn’t happen.
“I will run an honest and fair hearing,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show.
At least one member of the House committee said she would be attending the hearing as a dissenting voice.
“I don’t agree that we need to have a hearing that stigmatizes or focuses on one group of people … when there are so many areas of homeland security that need attention,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) told amNewYork.
King has said his interest in the Muslim community is merely in line with what members of the Obama administration have suggested. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress last month that homegrown terrorism is an increasing problem.
At least seven witnesses are expected to testify at the open hearing: three congressmen, two of whom are opposed to the premise of the gathering; two people whose family members became “radicalized;” the Los Angeles County sheriff; and a Muslim doctor who wants his community to be more outspoken.
Some Muslim-American groups say King should have invited law enforcement from New York to testify on how recruitment into terror groups is being done. But a King spokesman said the congressman wanted to hear from “people in the Muslim community who have been directly affected by radicalization.”
Other New Yorkers said focusing solely on Muslims is necessary. “That is where the majority of the problems come from,” said Pelham Park resident Danny Rosario, 24.
"King should also never forget his agenda of enforcing our country's existing immigration laws," added Joanna Marzullo, president of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement.
(With Dina Davis)