A planned Republican-led inquiry into the “radicalization” of Muslim-Americans could “chill” relations between the U.S. government and its Muslim citizens, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told TPM today.
As we reported earlier, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the soon-to-be chairman of the committee is planning hearings on Muslim-Americans and terrorism next year.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the current chairman who will be ranking member once Republicans take over in January, thinks that might not be a great idea.
“Mr. Thompson would have some major concerns about any effort that would seem to group law-abiding Muslims with Jihadi would-be terrorists. This could chill collaboration and foster concerns about racial or ethnic profiling,” Thompson’s spokeswoman, Dena Graziano, told TPM. “We haven’t seen the proposal but believe that the American Muslim community and our Muslim allies are key to helping addressing the threat of Jihadist terrorists.”
King says he’s worried that Muslim leaders are becoming less inclined to cooperate in terrorism investigations.
But, Thompson’s spokeswoman said, Muslims have on several occasions tipped off the government to would-be terrorists.
“Any alienation of the Muslim community would hinder their wish to cooperate with law enforcement and would create a larger gap between the community and the government,” she said. “Having this gap could potentially lead the federal, state and local [authorities] to come up with programs or policies that generally profile [Muslims] — which is something Thompson regularly speaks against.”