WASHINGTON - Al Qaida is targeting Muslim Americans for recruits to terrorism and the community must do more to combat Islamic radicalization, a US lawmaker said on Thursday as he opened hearings that have been criticized as a witch hunt.
Peter King, the chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee who called the hearings, has accused the Muslim community of refusing to cooperate with law enforcement and charged that preaching in some US mosques was leading to radicalization.
"To combat this threat, moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community," King said. "Today, we must be fully aware that homegrown radicalization is part of al Qaida's strategy to continue attacking the United States."
King denied accusations that the hearings were "radical or un-American" and said there was no comparison between the threat by al Qaida and neo-Nazis, environmental extremists and other "isolated madmen."