The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee signaled Thursday he intends to keep investigating the American Muslim community despite a report this week that showed the number of Muslim extremists arrested for terrorism is on the wane.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), said he would resume his controversial hearings on radicalization among Muslim-Americans this year despite critics who say the focus on one ethnic group fuels bigotry and paranoia.
The chairman also said the committee would hold hearings on Islamist money coming into the United States and on "Iran’s intelligence services, proxies such as Hezbollah, and its ally of convenience, al-Qaeda; and the looming Iranian terror threat to the homeland."
King will also continue his probe of leaks to a Hollywood filmmaker of classified details of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, as well as about operations at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, saying they "could endanger the lives of our intelligence officers and special operators, their families, and the homeland."
Previous hearings led by King last year on the same topic awakened a storm of controversy, with critics questioning whether Congress should single out a specific minority group as a possible threat to national security.
King held the controversial hearings, bearing the title “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” Opponents such as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said the hearings dredged up the dark days of McCarthyism and only served to "vilify" a segment of the American population.
Also on the committee's agenda this year is an investigation of "the possible roles that the deceased al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and his at-large associates, Daoud Chehazeh and Eyad al-Rababah, might have played in facilitating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."
In addition, the committee plans to review security preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and seek obtaining Purple Heart medals for the military victims of the 2009 terror attacks in Little Rock, Ark., and at Fort Hood, Texas.
The committee has scheduled its first hearing of the year on Wednesday, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will testify on President Obama’s 2013 budget request, expected Monday.