WASHINGTON – The Republican congressman who has organized controversial hearings into radical Islam called Muslims "part of the mosaic" of America Wednesday and said they shouldn't feel threatened or intimidated by his inquiry.
"If there is going to be animosity, I would blame it on my opponents," Rep. Peter King said in a nationally broadcast interview.
King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, has come under withering criticism for the hearings scheduled to begin Thursday. Protests have already started, and comparisons to McCarthyism and the era of communist witch hunts are being heard.
In one appearance on morning television, King was asked if he was singling out the Muslim community rather than focusing on a more generalized terror threat against America.
"It might be politically correct, but it makes no sense to talk about other types of extremism, when the main threat to the United States today is talking about al Qaida," King said. He noted that Attorney General Eric Holder has said there have been some 50 homegrown terrorists arrested in this country and that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the threat has never been higher.
"It would diffuse and water down the hearings" to broaden the line of inquiry, King said. The congressman said the hearings are aimed at protecting Muslims from being pressured to commit terrorist acts.
Before coming to Congress, King had been an outspoken supporter of the Irish Republican Army. The then-comptroller of Nassau County, N.Y., told a 1982 pro-IRA rally on Long Island that he supported the IRA's "struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry," The New York Times reported in Wednesday's editions.
Three years later, it said, King declared, "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it."
King on Wednesday called the article distorted said he wasn't worried that his actions "were wrong."
Answer by jewjewbee at 9:38 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by UpSheRises at 9:43 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by SuperChicken at 9:46 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by Carpy at 10:07 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by tnmomofive at 10:08 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by jewjewbee at 10:31 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by itsmesteph11 at 10:36 AM on Mar. 9, 2011
Answer by stacymomof2 at 2:26 PM on Mar. 9, 2011
King should change his name to McCarthy.
Answer by Friday at 2:42 PM on Mar. 9, 2011