Mar 072011

Two members of Congress, two men whose families were devastated by a relative’s radicalization and two civic leaders with opposing views on Muslim community support for law enforcement will testify Thursday at the first hearing on Islamic radicalization in America.

–Steve Emerson

Washington, D.C. (Friday, March 4, 2011) – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced that on Thursday, March 10 he will convene the first in a series of hearings on radicalization in the American Muslim community. The hearing is entitled: “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

What: Committee on Homeland Security Hearing:

“The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”

When: Thursday, March 10, 2011, 9:30 a.m.

Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Note on Coverage

The hearing will be webcast at (The webcast plays in Windows Media format and is best viewed using Internet Explorer.)


Panel 1

Hon. Keith Ellison, A Representative in Congress from the 5th District of Minnesota

—> - Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the House, said that while it’s proper to investigate radicalization, he thinks it is wrong to single out a religious minority.

Panel 2

Hon. Frank Wolf, (-R) A Representative in Congress from the 10th District of Virginia

Panel 3

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, (Physician) President and Founder, American Islamic Forum for Democracy

The American-born son of Syrian immigrants, Jasser spent 11 years in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander. He practices internal medicine in Phoenix, Ariz. A devout Muslim who advocates the “separation of mosque and state,” Jasser is among the most prominent voices challenging Islamist ideology in the United States.

He founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy after 9/11, believing that “the root cause of Islamist terrorism is the ideology of political Islam and a belief in the preference for and supremacy of the Islamic state.”

Mr. Abdirizak Bihi, Director, Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center

Mr. Melvin Bledsoe, Private Citizen

Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
The Arrogance of L.A.’s Sheriff

NOTE: Details on witnesses further down so you can familiarize yourself with their history.

From Steve::

According to the National Review, the father of a man accused of gunning down an Army recruiter and the uncle of a Minneapolis man killed after joining the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab will testify about their relatives’ path to violence. Also testifying are U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., along with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Muslim political activist M. Zuhdi Jasser.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called the hearing in December, saying Congress needed to study new and effective methods used by al-Qaida and its affiliates to recruit terrorists from among Muslims in America. That includes English-language Internet video postings and several issues of a new magazine issued by al-Qaida’s Yemeni branch.

In addition, King has said, more needs to be done to get community support for terrorism-related investigations. “When I meet with law enforcement,” he told the New York Times, “they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders.”

Last week, for example, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed two lawsuits against the FBI, accusing the agency of allowing unchecked, wholesale investigations into Muslims because of their faith.

Baca has been a staunch CAIR defender, while Jasser has been a persistent critic. The Investigative Project on Terrorism compiled brief profiles of all the witnesses.

About Jasser : (Who I adore for always telling it like it is!)

A debate among Muslims is the best way to stem that radical ideology, Jasser says. “[J]ihadism is a natural by-product of a political Islam that is incompatible with Western secular democracies based in liberty. America is at war with theocratic Muslim despots who seek the imposition of sharia and don’t believe in the equality of all before the law, blind to faith.”

Jasser debated fellow witness Keith Ellison in October 2009, emphasizing that Muslims are a diverse group and no one voice can speak for them. “I think if Muslims want credibility and we want to be respected equally, we need to stand for reform within our faith of laws that are still in the 15th and 16th century,” Jasser said. “I think Muslims need to also stop collectivizing our community as one unit.”

About Lee Baca:

Lee Baca, who has served as Los Angeles County sheriff since 1998, dismisses King’s concerns about Muslim non-cooperation with law enforcement. “I don’t know what King is hearing or who he is hearing from,” Baca said last month at a forum sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “We’re with these people {Muslim Americans] all the time,” he said. If King “has evidence of noncooperation, he should bring it forward.”

Despite frequent attacks on law enforcement by CAIR, Baca has strongly defended the group.

During a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing last year, Baca angrily denied that CAIR supported terrorism or had connections with Hamas. Meeting with Muslim groups one week later, Baca struck a defiant tone. He ridiculed FBI official statements about CAIR officials’ participation in a Hamas terrorist support network called the Palestine committee, dismissing those who consider the group untrustworthy as “amateur intelligence officer[s].”

Baca, who has appeared at CAIR fundraisers, takes a different view from Jasser about the Muslim community’s diverse voices. “When you attack CAIR,” Baca said, “you attack virtually every Muslim in America.” Despite the prominent role of the preaching of Anwar al-Awlaki in a spate of recent terror attacks, Baca has decried what he calls “this constant uninformed chatter about religion being a factor in terrorism.”

Here is a brief rundown of the remaining witnesses:

— Melvin Bledsoe has operated Blues City Tours since opening the business in 1987. Its tours go to local attractions ranging from casinos to the National Civil Rights Museum. He has been on a search for answers since June 2009, when his son was arrested and charged with shooting two U.S. Army recruiters – killing one – in what some consider a domestic terrorist attack.

Carlos Bledsoe had changed his name to Abdulhakeem Muhammad shortly after converting to Islam while a college student. He traveled to Yemen to study Islam and spent four months in a Yemeni jail “with known terrorists” after being arrested for overstaying his visa, his father said.

— Abdirizak Bihi Minneapolis Community Activist Founder of the Somali Education and Advocacy Center

Abdirizak Bihi knows firsthand the devastating human toll that jihadist recruitment has on families. In November 2008, his teenage nephew joined a group of Somali-American youth who sneaked out of their Minnesota homes and went to Somalia to fight for the al-Shabaab terrorist organization. Burhan Hassan had a promising future before that, and had planned to go to Harvard. Instead, he was killed in Mogadishu in June 2009. Bihi has spoken out against the radicalization of Somali youth ever since.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Representative of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District

During the election, there was some controversy over donations to his campaign from leaders of CAIR as well as claims of campaign finance violations. Later, more allegations arose over his participation in a Hajj pilgrimage trip sponsored by MAS, an MB group in America. Ideologically, Ellison has also maintained an active relationship with CAIR, ISNA, or other Islamist groups, by appearing at their events and fundraisers. He has criticized the premise

— U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. Representative of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District

Wolf, 72, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. He also calls out extremist rhetoric at home. In June 2009, Wolf spent 40 minutes on the House floor detailing links to terrorists involving CAIR and what he called the group’s intimidation of critics. It is a mistake, he said, to “look to CAIR to speak for mainstream Muslim Americans.”

He also has pushed for the Islamic Saudi Academy, a private school in Northern Virginia, to purge its textbooks of extremism and intolerance, including a book which states the killing an apostate or an adulterer is acceptable under Islamic law.

~ I wonder if the DHS House Gov will crash. If so I am sure C-Span will be broadcasting it. Stay tuned to JUST Piper for any updates. They will be in comments on this post. ~JP



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