Are Pete King's Muslim Hearings New McCarthyism?

Critics say Rep. Peter King's hearing on U.S. Muslim radicalization was unjust.

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Last Thursday, New York Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held the first in a planned series of hearings entitled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” King said the hearings were in response to homegrown terrorism and complaints from law enforcement officials that Muslim communities are unhelpful in efforts to fight terrorism. But controversy immediately sparked, with critics comparing King to former Sen. Joe McCarthy, who held hearings to root out communists in the 1950s. King's critics say it is unfair and unjust for him to single out Muslim communities when extremists of other stripes have also caused violence in America. Explaining his rationale, King told the New York Times, “The threat is coming from the Muslim community,” he said. “The radicalization attempts are directed at the Muslim community. Why should I investigate other communities?”

In advance of Thursday’s hearing, Gallup polled Americans on the appropriateness of such hearings focused solely on U.S. Muslims. The chart below breaks down public opinion by party.

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