Rep. Peter King (R-NY) Convenes Hearings Into The Radicalization Of American Muslims

1||March 10, 2011: On Thursday, the House Homeland Security Committee, led by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), began hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in the United States. In four hours of testimony on the first day of the hearings, much of the debate centered on whether the hearings were a good idea in the first place.

Committee Chairman Peter King presided over the hearing. ||Jeff Malet/

2||Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) teared up and warned to the crowd “as a minority, I would advocate to people, in particular minorities, that they should have their attorney present when being investigated, talk to, spoken to, addressed by the FBI.”||Jeff Malet/

3||Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) sadly looked on as the hearings progressed.||Jeff Malet/

4||Rep. Laura Richardson became passionate during the hearings and was one was one of those who objected on principle to the inquiry’s focus on Muslims.||Jeff Malet/

5||Sheriff Baca works with the Muslim community in Los Angeles. ||Jeff Malet/

6||Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, has been criticized for his work with anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney. ||Jeff Malet/

7||Abdirizak Bihi, Director of Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, testified that moderate Muslims “don’t have a voice.” ||Jeff Malet/

8||In his introductory remarks, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) cautioned that Rep. King should tread carefully as he proceeds with the hearings. ||KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom&&

9||A chart displayed during the hearing showed the sites of attempted terrorist attacks in the United States. ||KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom&&

10||Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. ||Jeff Malet/

11||The hearings have been highly polarizing, with some saying they are a necessary inquiry, and others calling them a modern day witch hunt. ||SIPA USA-GF/SIPA/Newscom&&

12||Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) said it was wrong to criticize the hearings because no one complained about similar hearings years ago into the KKK. || Jeff Malet/

13||Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) seen here waved a copy of the Constitution as she spoke. ||Jeff Malet/

14||A framed picture of the World Trade Center towers burning on September 11 hung in the back of the room during the hearing.||Jeff Malet/

15||Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, broke down in tears while delivering introductory remarks about a Muslim 9/11 first responder who died in the terrorist attacks. ||KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom&&

16||Among those called to testify were. from left: Melvin Bledsoe, whose son attacked a military base in Arkansas; Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew left America to join the terrorist organization Al Shabab; Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser; and Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy Baca. ||SIPA USA-GF/SIPA/Newscom&&

17||Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama).|||Jeff Malet/

18||Day one of the hearings left many in the audience in a somber mood.||Jeff Malet/

19||Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali
President, Islamic Society of North America.||Jeff Malet/

20||Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) questions witnesses during a committee hearing on the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and the community’s response.||KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom&&