Representative Peter King (R-NY) says he'll call for hearings into the radicalization of Muslim Americans when he takes over as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security in the new congressional term.
In an interview on FOX's "America Live," King said "We have to break through this politically correct nonsense which keeps us from debating and discussing what I think is one of the most vitally important issues in this country. We are under siege by Muslim terrorists and yet there are Muslim leaders in this country who do not cooperate with law enforcement."
And he also notes a rise in terrorist recruitment in the United States saying, "We have the reality that Al-Qaida is trying to recruit Muslim-Americans, and yet we have people in the Muslim community who refuse to face up to this."
King cites foiled terror plots to bomb Times Square and the New York Subway, the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, and arrests of who he calls "homegrown Muslim terrorists" in Texas, Chicago, Virginia, New Jersey, San Diego and Portland, Oregon as examples of the type of radicalization on which the hearings would focus.
But some Muslim groups have said such hearings would be an anti-Muslim witch hunt and lead to an era of McCarthy-type hearings.
"Rep. King has dedicated years of his career peddling extremist rhetoric and baseless claims concerning the Muslim community and its leadership," said Faiza Ali, community affairs director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Instead of promoting counterproductive strategies that risk alienating partners within the community, Rep. King would better serve our nation if he actually engaged mainstream American Muslim leaders and organizations on issues related to national security."
But the congressman says he'll use the hearings to drill deeper into the divisive issue and points out that Muslims themselves are most susceptible to being victims of terrorism. "The immediate victims are Muslims themselves, whose sons and daughters could end up being killed as suicide bombers," he said.