As Irish American congressman Rep. Peter King prepares for his next round of hearings on the the radicalization of the Muslim-American community, members of New York organizations expressed their opposition yesterday.
King, the Long Island congressman who heads the House Homeland Security Committee has schedules his latest hearing for today in Washington, which will focus on the radicalization in U.S. prisons. He has said he will call on several law enforcement experts to testify on recent examples of terrorist recruitment among inmates.
“This is a real concern; this is a real issue," King told the Associated Press after a press conference hosted by the Long Island Neighbors for American Values.
The group includes religious leaders and civic groups who maintain that King’s hearings are promoting negative stereotypes.
"Unfortunately, these people are living in denial," King said. "Al-Qaida is attempting to recruit in our country and it is a reality we cannot afford to hide from."
"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.
Sister Jeanne Clark of Long Island, maintains she has served prison time for acts of disobedience, said King’s focus on prisons was misguided.
"Language is important," she said. "Prisoner, Muslim, radicalized terrorism. Saying these words together in a sentence instills fear and mistrust."
The next hearing after today’s will likely be held in July and will focus on reports of Americans joining al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.