WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security has scheduled a fifth hearing on radicalization within the Muslim-American community, this time calling American Muslims who are friendly to his cause to testify about their reaction to the first four hearings.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) announced Wednesday he would convene the hearing, titled "The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community," on June 20. The session is the latest of a controversial series that began in March 2011 and drew condemnation from Muslims and civil liberties groups, who likened the hearings to "McCarthyism 2.0."
“When I began this series of investigative hearings in March of last year to examine radicalization within the Muslim-American community, I was vilified by the politically correct media, pandering politicians and radical groups such as CAIR – even though this issue was non-partisan and of serious concern to national security and counterterrorism officials in the Obama administration," King said in a statement.
"To date, we have examined radicalization of Muslim-Americans generally, focused on the problem of radicalization in U.S. prisons, investigated al-Shabaab’s recruitment of more than 40 young American Muslims, and examined the threat to military communities inside the U.S following attacks at Fort Hood and in Little Rock," the statement continued. "Our witnesses included a number of Muslims, including a Muslim leader who testified at the al-Shabaab hearing that these hearings have empowered the Muslim Community to confront this serious problem."
King will call three Muslim witnesses at the hearing, which he said will examine the impact the previous hearings have had on "the Muslim Community’s ability to address this issue and on U.S. efforts to counter al-Qaeda and affiliated groups' radicalizing of Muslims in this country." The following people are scheduled to testify:
- M. Zudi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Phoenix-based group founded after the 9/11 attacks "to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state." Jasser testified at the first radicalization hearing last year on March 10, 2011. He also narrated "The Third Jihad," an incendiary anti-Islam film shown to New York Police Department officers during training exercises, and has criticized a controversial project to build a mosque near Ground Zero.
- Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who teaches journalism at Georgetown University. She is the author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam" and "Milestones for a Spiritual Jihad: Toward an Islam of Grace." She is the co-director of the Pearl Project, an investigation into the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The Indian-American journalist will likely speak about her experiences in her home of Morgantown, W.Va.; her battle against men she saw as extremists at her family's mosque there was the subject of a 2009 film. Nomani has also argued in favor of racial and religious profiling at airports.
- Qanta Ahmed, a Long Island, N.Y.-based doctor and author of "In the Land of Invisible Women," a personal memoir of living and working as a western Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia. A blogger for The Huffington Post, she recently wrote that female Muslim athletes should remove their hijabs, or head coverings, in order to compete in the Olympics and other competitions.
Also on the witness list is John Cohen, principal coordinator for counterterrorism at the Department of Homeland Security. Last fall, he said in an interview that he did not favor the word "radicalization."
"Our focus is not to police thought but to prevent violence," he said.The hearing, scheduled for 10:15 a.m., can be watched live online here.