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Entries in Radicalization (3)

Wednesday
Mar092011

Rep. Peter King to Examine Threat of Radical Islam at Home

PeteKing [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of a key congressional committee is scheduled this week to examine the apparent threat posed by homegrown Islamic radicals.

But some members of the Muslim community fear that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is on a witch hunt, holding hearings that recall the days of Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communism crusade.

Hundreds of people in New York City this weekend protested the hearing entitled "Radicalization in the American Muslim community," which is scheduled for Thursday.

"Peter King, we are on to your game, dividing people and using fear and intolerance," one female protester said.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress who will be testifying at the hearing, said, "These hearings, as presently organized, won't do any good.  And they may well do a lot of damage."

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, "These hearings have the potential to demonize Islam."

But King has said the goal of the House Committee on Homeland Security is not to target all Muslims but to deal with the reality of terrorism.

Forty-nine suspects have been charged with acts of international terrorism in the past two years.  They are nearly all Muslim men, typically in their 20 or 30s.  The charges include plotting to blow up a car in Times Square, targeting the New York City subway and the shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas.

And there have been numerous stings, including one involving New York City men who allegedly wanted to use a shoulder-fired missile to shoot down U.S. military planes.  Other stings involved young men radicalized on the Internet.

The members of the Muslim community believe it is being unfairly maligned because of the actions of a few.  Muslim leaders have also pointed out that a number of terrorism suspects were arrested based on tips from their community. Wednesday on Good Morning America, Rep. King countered that claim saying there have been documented cases in which Islamic leaders in New York and elsewhere have advised followers not to help law enforcement personnel -- and in at least one case, the leader of a mosque warned a follower the FBI was investigating him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

House to Examine Radicalization of American Muslims Thursday

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The threat of a homegrown terror attack has been the growing fear of law enforcement and intelligence officials and the aspiration of international terrorists since 9/11.

There are a number of recent high-profile examples of the danger posed by citizen-terrorists. Maj. Nidal Hassan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 29 more at Fort Hood, Texas on Nov. 5, 2009. Explosives placed by Faisal Shahzad in an SUV in Times Square last May could have killed an estimated hundreds of tourists on that crowded Friday evening if the weapon of mass destruction had ignited. Five young Muslim men from Alexandria, Va. are sitting in a Pakistani prison after being convicted in Pakistan of plotting to join forces with the Taliban to fight American soldiers in Afghanistan.

The men involved in each plot were American citizens, and all had alleged ties to al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, a dual citizen of Yemen and the United States.

On Thursday, the House Committee on Homeland Security is set to convene the first in a series of controversial hearings targeting radicalization in the American Muslim community.

New York Republican Peter King, the chairman of the committee, wants to examine what he calls a “significant change in al Qaeda tactics and strategy” and its efforts to “radicalize and recruit from within our country.”

But opponents, such as Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the Homeland Security committee, have criticized King as a modern-day Sen. Joe McCarthy for targeting a single religious community when there are other domestic threats such as neo-Nazis, violent opponents of abortion, animal testing, and environmental extremists that demand inspection as well.

King’s hearing has drawn intense scrutiny since he announced his intentions last December, but calls to expand the scope of the hearing intensified after the January shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six of her constituents. The attack was allegedly carried out by Jared Lee Loughner, who is not Muslim.

“While I share your concern about the threat posed to our nation from violence borne of ideologically driven extremism, I believe that this Committee’s exploration of the current and emerging threat environment should be a broad-based examination of domestic extremist groups, regardless of their respective ideological underpinnings,” Thompson, D-Mississippi, wrote in a February letter urging King to broaden the scope of the hearing. “The ideology of a bomb maker matters less than the lethal effects of his creation.”

Days before the first session, King, R-NY, went to the airwaves to defend the narrow scope of the hearings.

“We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there.  And that's where the threat is coming from at this time,” King, R-New York, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday. “This is al Qaeda internationally; it's attempting to recruit within the United States.  People in this country are being self-radicalized, whether it's Major Hasan or whether it's Shahzad or whether it was [Najibullah Zazi’s plot to bomb the subway system] in New York.  These were all people who were identifying, in one way or another, with al Qaeda or al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

White House Praises Muslims for Aiding Fight Against Terrorism

Comstock/Thinkstock(STERLING, Va.) -- The White House commended Muslim Americans Sunday for their role in fighting violent extremism, just days before the House plans hearings to investigate the “radicalization” of the U.S. Muslim community.

“The most effective voices against al Qaeda’s warped worldview and interpretation of Islam are other Muslims,” Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough said at an interfaith forum held at a Northern Virginia Muslim community center Sunday night.

McDonough praised the members of the community for taking “an unequivocal stand against terrorism” and was adamant that the U.S. does not practice “guilt by association.”

“You’ve condemned terrorism around the world against people of other faiths…In so doing, you’ve sent a message that those who perpetrate such horrific attacks do not represent you or your faith, and that they will not succeed in pitting believers of different faiths against one another,” he said.

McDonough’s comments come as Rep. Peter King, R-NY, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the "Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response."

Earlier Sunday, King reiterated warnings that "something from within" the Muslim community is a threat to America and needs to be explored.

"We're talking about al Qaeda.  We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there.  And that's where the threat is coming from at this time,” King told CNN.

Critics say the hearings risk demonizing the Muslim community by targeting one faith over another.  While McDonough did not mention King or his hearings directly, he made it clear that “to protect our nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio