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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf Speaks Out Against Peter King's Radical Islam Hearing (VIDEO)

First Posted: 03/10/11 01:58 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Peter King Imam

New York Rep. Peter King has caught plenty of flack from critics who disapprove of his hearings on Muslim radicalism in America.

The former Imam of the proposed Park51 Islamic community center near Ground Zero added his voice to the chorus of criticism.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told NBC New York that he fears the hearings could inflame extremism.

"The fear I have is the banner headline in the Muslim world ... that Muslims are under attack which radicalizes people even further," Rauf said. "Our common enemy is extremism and the radicalism that fuels extremism. Whether it's a pastor in Florida who threatens to burn Korans ... whether it's people who attack an embassy and kill people ... all that has no place in civil society today."

Rauf told NPR's Robert Siegel that, though there are certainly Muslim extremists in America, they are in the minority.

"You know, with almost one and half billion Muslims worldwide, we have our share of the unhinged and the crazies, as well, and the crackpots," Rauf said. "We also have radicalization, which we recognize and acknowledge. But the real battle front is between the moderates - peace-loving people of all faith traditions - against the radical extremists of all faith traditions."

King has defended the hearings, saying that radical Islam is a distinct threat that merits investigation, even though such an inquiry might not be "politically correct."

In July, King came out strongly against the proposed Park51 center and called for an investigation into the project's funding.

WATCH Rauf state his case:

View more videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com.


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Filed by Simon McCormack  |