Rep. King reaps Somali praise for Muslim hearings

Sep 27, 2011 Issues: Domestic Radicalization / Radicalization Hearings, Counterterrorism

The Hill – by Jordy Yager

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that Somalia’s foreign minister called to voice his support for the hearings the lawmaker is holding this year on radicalization within the Muslim-American community.

As chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, King has held three hearings on the topic. The latest, in July, explored al-Shabaab’s recruitment tactics with Americans in the U.S.

Al-Shabaab is an al Qaeda affiliate that has attracted and recruited dozens of Muslim-Americans in its efforts to promote violence, according to King.

Somali Foreign Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said that his country, which has been in a state of upheaval for several decades as factions battle for control of its government, fully supports King’s hearings.

“Foreign Minister Ibrahim emphasized that Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali joins in supporting the hearings, two of which focused on al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization based in Somalia that has radicalized dozens of Muslim-American young men in Minneapolis and other cities, recruiting them to travel to Somalia to fight,” said King in a statement.

“U.S. intelligence officials say al-Shabaab poses a threat to the U.S. homeland, which must be thwarted. Foreign Minister Ibrahim and First Secretary Omar Jamal assured me of their government’s full support and cooperation in my hearings.”

{mossecondads}King’s next hearing on radicalization within the Muslim-American community is expected to be held at the end of next month, according to his office.

The first hearing on the issue brought a bevy of criticism from King’s Democratic colleagues, who argued the hearing would further ostracize the Muslim-American community.

Nearly 100 Democrats wrote to King on the eve of the hearing and asked him to cancel it or expand the scope of his probe, pointing to the prejudice many Muslim-Americans have experienced since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

King proceeded with the hearing and held two more in the subsequent months, lauding them as a success for bringing an issue to light that many politicians view as too touchy to address.

King released the findings of a poll earlier this month by Secure America Now, which found that 63 percent of the 1,000 Americans it asked supported his hearings and supported him holding more.