House Hearings to Examine Homegrown Terrorism

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Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has scheduled his committee to hold a controversial congressional hearing on Islamic radicalization this week.

His challenge is to focus on the threat of homegrown terrorism without completely attacking the religion of Islam.

There is a growing consensus among both political parties and the country's top security leaders that radicalized Muslims are a huge threat within the U.S.

Click play to watch Heather Sells' report followed by comments from CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.

"My assessment is that the threat environment now is increasingly active and that it is not restricted to plots that are hatched overseas and then flown into the United States," Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano said during a press conference in December.  "It also now includes an increasing amount of hometown or homegrown terrorist activity particularly by individuals who have become radicalized and associated with al Qaeda or Islamist terrorism beliefs and techniques and tactics."

On Thursday, King will chair a hearing to look at radicalization, and how the Muslim community can help law enforcement combat it.

"Right now there is an effort, and this isn't just me saying this. Eric Holder says he stays awake at night worrying about the numbers of young Muslim men who are being radicalized," King said.

However, critics over the weekend said the New York congressman is using divisive rhetoric -- trying to vilify Muslims as a whole.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who's a Muslim, has defended the hearing. Ellison and the White House have urged King to take caution.

"It's absolutely the right thing to do for the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to investigate radicalization," said Ellison. "But to say we're going to investigate a a religious minority and a particular one, I think, is the wrong course of action to take."

Thursday's hearing will focus on how Muslims can help law enforcement combat radicalization, just like they've done already in a number of cases.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.