Newsday: Muslim lawmaker to testify at King hearing

Feb 9, 2011 Issues: Domestic Radicalization / Radicalization Hearings

By TOM BRUNE
Newsday
February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON - Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) will hold his controversial hearing on U.S. Muslim radicalization during the second week of March, and the first Muslim elected to Congress said he'll testify to challenge King's premise, aides said Tuesday.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim convert, will accept King's invitation to testify, his aide said, but he'll do it to challenge King's premise that radicalized American Muslims pose a greater threat than others such as American Nazis.

Another panelist, a King aide confirmed, will be Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona physician and founder of a nonprofit whose goal is to fight "political Islam and Islamist radicalization," and "collaborate with intelligence and law enforcement."

King critic Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, called Jasser a favorite of conservatives for raising alarms about Islamic radicalization.

King, who will hold the hearing as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, hasn't set a specific date but will hold it during the week of March 7, an aide said.

In a letter Tuesday, King rejected last week's plea by the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, to broaden the hearing beyond Muslim radicalization to include other groups.

"I will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat," King wrote.

"This threat is real, and we can hardly afford to ignore the motivating ideology behind nearly every recent homegrown attack," King wrote, "such as the Zazi plot, the Times Square Attack, Fort Hood, the Portland Christmas bombing attempt, and numerous others."