Rep. Peter King's first round of hearings on the radicalization of the Muslim-American community in March drew national coverage, passionate protests -- even tears, when the first Muslim member of Congress testified.
Round 2 begins Wednesday when King holds a hearing focused on the radicalization that, he says, occurs in U.S. prisons. The New York Republican is pulling together law enforcement experts who have been inside the prison system and say it's a hotbed of radical conversion.
All signs so far point to more fireworks.
Members of several New York organizations that protested the first hearings were back Tuesday, saying the hearings play on stereotypes of both Muslims and prisoners. A coalition of civil rights, religious and interfaith groups met on New York's Long Island.
The protesters included an imam who works as a chaplain in a county jail on Long Island. He says he has seen no evidence of terrorist recruitment at the jail.
"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.
King insists he's not targeting Muslims.
"What I'm targeting is violent terrorists and extremists, and ... the fact is that Al Qaeda itself has said it will recruit within the Muslim-American community. That's the reality," he told Fox News.
"When Robert Kennedy went after the mob, he looked at the Costa Nostra, at the Mafia. That is the reality. Ninety-nine percent of Muslims are outstanding Americans. But the fact is Al Qaeda is targeting that group, and we have to find out where they are and the methods they are using. And what I'm doing tomorrow is looking at prisons because that is a fertile area for radicalization," King said.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there have been at least four cases of American Muslims being radicalized in prison, including Kevin, James and Levar Washington, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to "conspiracy to levy war against the United State through terrorism."
David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said his research with Charles Kurzman defined radicalized as someone who's been charged or convicted of a terror offense with an element of violence.
"This is an issue that should be addressed for sure and is a potential threat," Schanzer told FoxNews.com. "It is a problem if people are in jail adopting this radical ideology."
But 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."
King said that the Obama administration has been working with him to address the issue, noting that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is setting up a task force to look into radicalization in the prisons.
"I can't believe that liberal groups like The New York Times and so many Democrats in Congress have locked in against this," King said, arguing that they get "hysterical" and "hyperbolic" over it. "It's just wrong."
King said the next hearing after Wednesday will likely be held in late July and will focus on reports of Americans joining Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based offshoot of Al Qaeda 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.