Emotions High Amid Homegrown Terror Hearings

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WASHINGTON - GOP Rep. Peter King said he's received death threats as he prepares to lead the first-ever hearing on the threat of homegrown terrorism in the U.S.

The House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the radicalization of American Muslims.

"In the last two years alone, there've been 50 homegrown terrorists arrested in this country," King said.

But some feel the hearings will be unfair to the Muslim community and only worsen anti-Muslim protests. During a recent demonstration in Orange County, Calif., protestors yelled "Mohammed was a child molester!" and told Muslims to "Go home."

"It's not domestic extremism in which Rep. King is interested," Shahid Buttar, with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said. "Rep. King is interested in scoring cheap political points by vilifying vulnerable communities, and that is a threat that should concern all of us."

Click play to watch Paul Strand's report.  CBN News also spoke with Asra Nomani, author of 'Standing Alone in Mecca,' for more on the upcoming hearings.  Click here for those comments.

"It's violating people's civil rights and civil liberties, putting an entire religion on trial and not actually going after the real criminal threats which really concern all of us as American citizens," added Alejandro Beutel, with the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The White House defended U.S. Muslims.

"We believe American Muslims are a part of the solution, not a part of the problem," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

King believes the suggestion to widen the hearing beyond the Muslim community and investigate other forms of extremism is nonsense.

"In the last two years there've been no terrorism indictments of neo-Nazis or 'skinheads' or environmental extremists," he explained.

He added that it's not always true than U.S. Muslims are the ones reporting homegrown terrorists.

"I will have people from the Muslim community who will say how when they went to law enforcement how imams attempted to stop them," King said. "How they were threatened when they did want to report. How when the FBI began investigations... the imams in their mosques told them not to cooperate."

Anti-terrorism consultant Patrick Poole said some Muslims are opposing the hearings because they want to protect shady Islamic groups that really do radicalize Americans.

"Time and time again, we see terrorists being churned out on a conveyor belt out of these organizations," he said. "And these groups do not want Congress looking into that."

Radical Islamists have been the focal point of most Congressional hearings on violent extremism since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.