The third Muslim radicalization hearing by the House Homeland Security Committee, part of an ongoing series conducted by Rep. Peter King (R..-N.Y.), contained yet more explosive comments and fierce rebukes from committee members. In the wake of the attack in Norway by a non-Muslim nationalist, the hearing itself was sure to be questioned yet again by Democrats for its alleged discrimination and unfair targeting of Muslims.
King started off right away by clarifying his intent and decrying the efforts of the “politically correct media” for using the Norway attacks to go after his Muslim radicalization hearings.
He specifically targeted what he called, “the vacuous ideologues at the New York Times” who were “shamelessly attempting to exploit the horrific tragedy in Norway to refocus these hearings away from Muslim-American radicalization.”
And he continued to excoriate the critics by saying, “Let me make this clear to the New York Times and their acolytes in the politically correct, moral equivalency media—I will not back down from holding these hearings. I will continue to hold these so long as I’m the chairman of this committee.”
The first two King hearings were on the radicalization of Muslims in mosques and radicalization of Muslims in prisons respectively. This one covered the Somali-based Islamist terror network, Al-Shabaab.
The hearings have often degenerated into a circus and a farce because of the ongoing pressure from liberal committee members to stop them from even taking place. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has been the main attraction by making comments about how the hearings are “tainted”, how the “living and breathing” Constitution is crying, and how hordes of Christian militants are terrorizing the nation and posing a grave threat to national security.
The third hearing started with a bit of controversy over King’s denial of oral testimony by Rep. Keith Ellison (D.-Minn.). According to a letter written by King, Ellison was rejected due to the crowded list of panelists and because he had in fact already testified at the first hearing. At that first hearing, Ellison cried through most of his testimonial, and his submitted written testimonial for the third hearing, which King allowed, was short in length and on facts.
The facts surrounding Al-Shabaab and its capacity to commit terrorist acts and violence were clear. According to the investigative report done by the Republicans on the committee, at least 40 or more Americans have joined Al-Shabaab, and of those that have joined, at least 15 have been killed fighting with them. Many of these homegrown jihadists are now unaccounted for and pose a threat to the United States.
It was made clear that Al-Shabaab is, in many ways, just like al-Qaeda, and in fact at this point may pose an even greater threat to Americans. Many of its recruits have come from the U.S., including Omar Hammami, who is a Muslim convert from Daphne, Ala., and appears in many of the organization’s propaganda videos.
In one video, Hammami can be heard saying, “May Allah accept our dear beloved sheikh and cause our swords to become instruments of his avenging.” He was referring to Osama bin Laden, who had been killed just a short time before.
According to the investigation, Al-Shabaab has been using mosques to cover its actions and to recruit Muslims to its cause. Al-Shabaab members have allied themselves with al-Qaeda and AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula)—which is a Yemeni based Islamist group—and have received aid from both.
While the witnesses, occupying a diverse set of backgrounds from the Somali Canadian National Council president to an attorney who has worked against a hotbed of terrorist organization in Minnesota, were questioned and gave mostly factual testimony. However, just as during the previous two hearings, witnesses were frequently badgered by Democrats who claimed that even talking about the subject was discriminatory, and that the hearings should have a broader focus on all groups.
The questioning became quite absurd when Rep. Al Green (D.-Tex,) brought up the case of Jihad Jane, who was a white convert to Islam that plotted to conduct acts of terror. He began asking questions such as, “Was she seven feet tall?” and “What color was her hair?”
King became agitated at the bizarre questioning and interrupted to say, “Your questions make absolutely no sense,” which brought this reply from Green: “I didn’t expect the question to make sense to you.”
After hearing the rest of Green’s questions, King made it clear that Green’s comments might make broadcast networks around the world, such as Al Jazeera, believe that the hearings “are targeting an ethnicity.” King said that this is absolutely false, and that the hearings in fact empower Muslims to come forward to help defeat radical Islamists.