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Posted at 5:22 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Previewing Peter King's hearing on radical Islam

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 7:15 p.m.

Tomorrow morning, we'll be live-blogging House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King's (R-N.Y.) hearing on "the extent of radicalization of American Muslims." The hearing, which starts at 9:30 a.m., will feature six witnesses, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim American elected to Congress, and relatives of young American Muslims who became violently radicalized.

King's hearing has drawn fire from critics who charge that it scapegoats Muslim Americans and is a "public exercise in Islamophobia." Proponents of the hearing, meanwhile, say that it's appropriate for the Homeland Security Committee to investigate the roots of radicalization.

Join us at 9:30 a.m. here for live video and coverage. If you have any questions or thoughts, as always, the comments section awaits. In the meantime, check out some of The Post's recent coverage related to the hearing:

Two profiles of King

A look at the support that Japanese Americans are providing to the Muslim community

An exploration of the atmosphere surrounding Muslims in America these days and why the King hearing is causing such a stir

King defends himself against criticism over the hearing

The witness list for the hearing

Anxiety on all sides ahead of Thursday's hearing

Discussion of the hearing on our "On Faith" blog

Congressional leaders have been mostly reserved in their response to the hearing; here are statements from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); we'll update this as more statements come in.

Pelosi: "In Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe. Securing our homeland, defending against acts of terrorism, and ensuring our national security are serious challenges. In a nation founded on diversity and strengthened by the contributions of many faiths, including those of Muslim Americans, we must never use religion as a wedge to divide the American people. Instead, we must state in a united voice: violence in the name of any religion is a betrayal of our fundamental values as Americans. And any responsible national security strategy must be rooted in facts, fairness, and an unending commitment to the rights and liberties of every American."

Cantor: "I think Pete King's been a tremendously effective congressman for his district in New York. He is well-versed on the issues of radical extremism and its impact on terrorists here in this country as well as abroad. Listen, we all know that the spread of radical Islam is something that threatens the security of the United States and our people. This hearing is focused on an issue that we've got to be aware of. And it is something that is facing us and provides a threat to our people."

Hoyer: "I believe this hearing would have been more useful had it taken a broader look at domestic terror and radicalization. As currently structured, however, I believe it sends the wrong message to the Muslim-American community. We need them to work with law enforcement to identify terrorist threats, not be afraid of them. We all need to work together to keep our nation and Americans safe, and we need everyone's cooperation to do so. Targeting one segment of our population is not helpful to that objective."

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 9, 2011; 5:22 PM ET
 
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