Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says there “is no doubt” that fanatical Islamists are trying to radicalize American prison inmates. And he castigated the “vacuous morons” at The New York Times and elsewhere who contend that his hearings are politically incorrect.
|Rep. Peter King notes moderate Islam has been a guiding force in prisoner rehabilitation over the years, despite the radical elements. (Getty Images Photo)
The Republican New York congressman made the comments on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday, the day after he convened the second in a set of hearings into the radical Islamist threat in the United States.
“We’ve had a number of cases where they’ve gone on from prison to a post-prison radicalization and then to carry out attempted jihad,” King said. “This shouldn’t even be debatable: There’s no doubt it’s there — we could have a question about the extent of it, we could have a question about how far we should go as far as dealing with it.”
King noted that he received considerable criticism after the first hearing in March.
“When I see critics coming up like CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] and other groups attacking me for holding these hearings, I would be derelict if I didn’t have these hearings,” King said. “This is a real issue — it’s there — it’s something to be concerned about.
“And I just found going back to the first hearing, you had those vacuous morons at The New York Times attacking me in four editorials and two front-page stories, and you had the Council on American-Islamic Relations, you had the media going apoplectic,” he said. “And the fact is: I will stand by every word that came out of that hearing — they were fair, they were decisive, and they were absolutely necessary.
“As chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, I have no alternative,” King said. “I’m not going to back down to political correctness.”
King was asked what anecdotal evidence prompted him to schedule the hearing on radicalization in U.S. prisons. He responded that law enforcement officials had informed him that some radical Muslim chaplains were coercing prison inmates.
“Virtually any prison official you talk to — in this case we had the officials there . . . describing how vital it is that we stop this radicalization,” he said. “Part of the problem is that there is no way of vetting — there is really systematic way at vetting who Muslim chaplains are going to be.”
King stressed that moderate Islam has been a guiding force in prisoner rehabilitation over the years, despite the radical elements.
“Many young men — especially African-American men — have turned their lives around by being converted to Islam,” he said. “So it’s not the conversion to Islam, it’s the radical type of Islam that is being carried out.”
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