Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison–the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives–appeared on MSNBC to express alarm about Long Island Congressman Peter King’s plan to hold hearings on the “radicalization” of Muslims in the U.S.
“I got so concerned that when I heard about it I actually approached Congressman King on the House floor and told him that, you know, look, we all need to be concerned about violent radicalization, but not just against Muslims, against anybody,” Ellison told host Ed Schultz. “What about the guy who flew a plane into the IRS or what about the guy who killed a guard at the Holocaust museum?”
He added, “You know it is worthwhile to find out what turns somebody from a normal citizen into a violent radical, but to say that we’re only going to do it against this community and we’re about to change the debate to vilify this community is very scary and clearly has McCarthyistic implications.”
King has said that the nation is “under siege” by Muslim terrorists and that Muslim leaders are unwilling to speak with law enforcement about extremists in their midst. He said that political correctness has kept most officials from talking about these issues.
Ellison said that that kind of talk from King could backfire, and lead Muslim communities to feel that they are being attacked by their own elected officials.
“I’m fearful that if you attack a discrete, insular community, that you will make people, good people, withdraw, and I would like to see Muslim leaders, if they feel that there is some national security threat in their midst, feel comfortable talking to the FBI, talking to local law enforcement, and this kind of stuff can really discourage that.”
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