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King to hold fifth radicalization hearing

DHS' John Cohen

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King (R-NY) plans to convene a fifth hearing on radicalization within the Muslim-American community. 

The scheduled June 20 hearing titled “The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community” is the latest in a series King has held that have drawn the ire of Islamic groups, some civil liberties organizations and fellow congressmen. Critics have said King has focused too narrowly on American Muslims and has ignored other domestic terror threats.

The first hearings focused radicalization of Muslim-Americans generally, radicalization in U.S. prisons,  al-Shabaab’s recruitment of young American Muslims, and threats to military communities inside the U.S following attacks at Fort Hood and in Little Rock. 

“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,” said King in the June 13 announcement .

“Next week’s hearing, at which I will be calling three Muslim witnesses, will expand on the prior hearings to examine the impact they have had in 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 to carry out terrorist attacks on the homeland, ” said King.

King’s invited witness list includes John Cohen, principal coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of Homeland Security.

The committee also invited M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., president and founder, American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) , which advocates for Constitutional preservation and the separation of mosque and state. Jasser testified at King’s first radicalization hearing March 10, 2011.

Additional witnesses include Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and current journalism lecturer at Georgetown University.  She is also co-director of the Pearl Project, an investigation into the murder of Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The committee also tapped Dr. Qanta A. A. Ahmed, M.D. , writer on political and religious issues relating to Islam and author of “In the Land of Invisible Women," a memoir about living and working as a western Muslim woman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The committee said Ahmed is board certified physician and a recognized expert in health issues pertaining to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, with her work relating to Hajj medicine appearing in The Lancet and other leading publications.