Republican Congressman Peter King has vowed to stand his ground regarding yesterday’s controversial hearings into radical Islamists, despite calls from various public groups.
On Thursday King, as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, chaired a series of hearings which targeted Muslims in the U.S. and their role in terrorism.
"To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee to protect America from a terrorist attack," he said at the four-hour hearing yesterday.
Congressman John Dingell of Michigan was one of a number of Democrats who spoke against the hearing.
Speaking of his Muslim constituents, Dingell said, "They are almost, without exception, honorable, loyal citizens. And as I've indicated, they are distressed as much as we are about the behavior of Al Qaeda and other threats to their nation as we are to sharing their concerns about what is of danger to our nation."
King revealed on Wednesday that he had tightened his security detail after he receieved “hostile phone calls” and threats.
The hearings have been slammed as “political show trial,” and compared to the Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s led by Senator Joe McCarthy.
Critics have labeled King as “America's new McCarthy.”
Despite this King said he was not willing to “back down to the hysteria created by my opponents.”
Addressing his supporters through an email, King said the hearings has been “demonized” but he has vowed to go ahead with them.
He also included a link in his email to a YouTube video entitled “Rep. King Doing His Job by Holding Radicalization Hearings.”
King has called for the Muslim community in the U.S. to step up its efforts to renounce Al Qaeda and work more closely with law enforcement.
This week King said his efforts were not an attempt to stir up anti-Muslim fervor in America.
He said in an interview with the Associated Press, “You have a violent enemy from overseas which threatens us and which is recruiting people from a community living in our country. That's ... what this hearing's going to be.”
Earlier this week King defended his support of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
He said his issue against Muslims in America is not comparable with his past support of the IRA because they had “never attacked America.”
He said, “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the IRA never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.”