Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the first witness to speak at Thursday’s hearings on Muslim radicalization, warned House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to proceed with caution.
“For years, I ran investigative committees. I kept a picture of Joe McCarthy hanging on the wall so that I would know what it was I did not want to look like, to do or to be.”
He warned the committee not to “blot the good name or the loyalty or raise questions about the decency of Arabs or Muslims or other Americans en masse,” saying that individuals, not groups, should be singled out as threats to the country. “There will be plenty of rascals that we can point at and say, these are real dangers to the nation that we love and that we serve.”
He called Muslims “loyal, decent, honorable Americans,” who were just as concerned about national security as those present in the hearing room.
He ended his testimony by soberly reminding the committee of their responsibility.
“I know you will see to it, Mr. Chairman and the members of the committee, that we address the problems that we confront in terms of our national security, in a fair, decent, thoughtful and honorable fashion.”
Dingell said he hoped that “people will understand the purpose of this hearing should be to find where there is wrongdoing, danger and risk to our country, while at the same time, not raising threats about the loyalty or the patriotism of important branches of our society who are as loyal decent and good, thoughtful and honorable Americans as are all of us here present in this room.”
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