WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) opened hearings today into Islamic radicalization in the U.S. amid accusations of unfairly targeting Muslim-Americans.
During the five-and-half-hour hearing, many people testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, including lawmakers, law enforcement officials and several members of the Muslim community.
About 40 minutes into the hearing, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) broke down while telling the story of a fallen Sept. 11 first responder who was a Muslim.
The hearings into Muslim radicalization have sparked tremendous controversy that continued today.
"The hearing today is playing into al-Qaeda right now around the world," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas.)
King said the point of the hearings is to investigate the roots of Muslim radicalization and prevent terrorism. Some, however, believe the scope of the hearings should've been broader and examine a variety of radical groups, regardless of religion.
Long Island Muslims who watched today's testimony agree, saying that instead of thwarting terrorism, the hearings could have the opposite effect.
Dr. Hafiz Rehman, president of the Bay Shore mosque, says he felt uneasy watching today's hearing, which he believes unfairly targeted all Muslim-Americans and put them in a negative light.
While Rehman doesn't deny that radical Muslims exist, he thinks American-Muslim communities are being blamed for the actions of a few extremists, and is worried about the possible backlash.
Long Islanders are mixed on the subject of the hearings, with some saying that while all threats should be examined, Rep. King shouldn't single out one group of people.
Others, however, believe King should do whatever it takes to protect the country against terrorism.
For the coverage of Rep. King's hearings on Muslim-American radicalization, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.
Rep. King under fire for Muslim-radicalization hearings
Protesters rally against hearing planned by Rep. King