Keith Ellison fears McCarthyism at Peter King's Muslim hearings [VIDEO]

Keith Ellison and Peter King
Keith Ellison and Peter King

New York congressman Peter King has made it plain that he doesn't think American Muslims are showing enough deference to his fears about extremists, so he's going to use his new perch as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee to put them on the spot.

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, says King needs to pick his targets carefully.

"The great majority of Muslims in our country are hardworking, dedicated Americans," King says. "Yet a Pew Poll showed that 15 percent of Muslim Americans between 18 and 29 say suicide bombing is justified. I also know of imams instructing members of their mosques not to cooperate with law enforcement officials investigating the recruiting of young men in their mosques as suicide bombers."

"To some in the strata of political correctness, I'm a pretty bad guy. To be blunt, this crowd sees me as an anti-Muslim bigot," King says. "A spokesman for the Committee on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced me last year for making 'bigoted remarks . . . about Muslims and mosques (that) have no place in national security discussions.'"

That "mosque" is the Park 51 Muslim community center slated to take over space in an old coat factory a few blocks away from Ground Zero and assorted strip joints, burger stands and souvenir shops. King, like Tim Pawlenty, is OK with lap dances at the Pussycat Lounge near "hallowed ground" but not the Muslim version of a YMCA.

Ellison went on MSNBC's Ed Show yesterday to remind Americans that Timothy McVeigh was not a Muslim. And he said that, rather than making life miserable for all Muslims because of the actions of a very few, King should focus on finding ways to enlist law-abiding Muslim citizens in the fight against terrorism.

"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," he said.

"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," Ellison said.

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