Rep. Peter King (R-NY) was apparently unfazed by the controversy that befell him when he held a House hearing on radical Islam in March. The congressman announced that he will hold a second hearing next Wednesday focusing on “the threat of Muslim-American radicalization in U.S. prisons.”
“At this hearing, we will look specifically at the extent of the dangerous problem of radicalization in U.S. prisons,” King said in a statement Thursday obtained by CNN. “We have seen cases in which inmates have been radicalized at the hands of already locked-up terrorists or by extremist imam chaplains.”
“We will focus on a number of the serious cases in which radicalized current and former inmates have planned and launched attacks or attempted to join overseas Islamic terrorist organizations,” he added.
King currently chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security.
His previous hearing was blasted by Democrats, Muslims, and Muslim advocacy groups. The Long Island Republican was accused of Islamaphobia and trying to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment, among other things. The hearings were lambasted to such a degree, in fact, that Capitol police had to secure the hearing room as well as King's office.
“I cannot help but wonder how propaganda about this hearing’s focus on the American Muslim Community will be used by those who seek to inspire a new generation of suicide bombers,” Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the committee, said at the time.
But the fireworks during the hearing didn't come from controversial testimony or King. Instead, many remember it for Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison (who is also a Muslim) breaking down in tears, and fellow Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee having to be reprimanded for clapping during the hearing.
“This radicalization hearing, like the one in March, will be a deliberate and thoughtful examination of an issue that is too important for our security to ignore,” King assured in his statement.