WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says affiliates of al-Qaida are radicalizing some American Muslims and that he plans to hold hearings on the threat they pose to the U.S.
Republican congressman Peter King of New York tells CNN's "State of the Union" that he sees an international movement with elements in the United States of Muslims becoming more radical and identifying with terrorists. When asked what within the Muslim community poses a threat by host Candy Crowley, here's what he had to say:
Well, something from within. And I've said time and time again, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding Americans, but at this stage in our history there's an effort to radicalizate -- to radicalize elements within the Muslim community.
And I've said, when we were going after the Mafia, we looked at the Italian community; the Westies, the Irish community. In New York, they go after the Russian mob, they go into the Russian community in Brighton Beach and Coney Island.
And right now, there is an effort -- and this isn't just me saying this, Eric Holder's said he stays awake at night worrying about the numbers of young Muslim men who are being radicalized.
A Minnesota Democrat, congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the House, says that while it's proper to investigate radicalization, he thinks it is wrong to single out a religious minority.
"I worry about it," he said on the program. "Everybody I talk to worries about it, and we're concerned about the breadth of this."
He added, "It's absolutely the right thing to do for the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to investigate radicalization, but to say we're going to investigate a religious minority, and a particular one, I think is the wrong course of action to take."
On Sunday, groups opposed to King's hearings plan to rally in New York. President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser will speak on the administration's approach to countering domestic radicalization.