Muslim leader in King's district issues warning

Dr. Faroque Kahn a leader of the Islamic Center in Rep. King's district.
Dr. Faroque Khan, a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Center of Long Island, March 10, 2011.
CBS/John Bentley

WESTBURY, NY - With hearings underway in Washington, DC,into the "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response," a leader

of the Islamic Center of Long Island says Rep. Peter King's inquiry into homegrown terror plots could have serious consequences for Americans overseas.

"This will be another kind of incident which will be read as an attack on the Muslims," said Dr. Faroque Khan, a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Center of Long Island. "That can have repercussions for our troops who are stationed overseas, for our American citizens who are going overseas, and I hope the Congressman keeps that in mind."

Khan says the Islamic Center, located in Rep. King's district, deplores violence, but that there is resentment about U.S. forces in Afghanistan, especially when civilians are killed. "There's a fair amount of anger within the community based upon our foreign policy," said Khan. "What we try to teach our youngsters is to channel that in a constructive manner, not a destructive manner."

Pointing to a joint Duke University and University of North Carolina study released in January, Khan says the Muslim community has done a good job of policing itself for radical elements within the ranks. The study concludes that "Muslim-American communities strongly reject radical jihadi ideology, [and] are eager to contribute to the national counterterrorism effort." Of the 139 homegrown terrorists profiled in the study, the Muslim community was the single largest informant regarding terrorism.

But that has not deterred King. "Homegrown radicalization is part of al Qaeda's strategy to keep attacking the United States," he said at the opening of the hearings. "This committee cannot live in denial."

Khan sees it differently. "Congressman King has been a Muslim basher," he says, which he finds particularly troubling since King had been a friend to the Islamic Center before 9/11, and was even a guest at Khan's son's wedding.

"I don't see any rationale in what he's doing, branding a whole community for the acts of a few. This is against the Constitution, this is not justice," Khan says. "These hearings will be watched very carefully throughout the global Muslim community and if not done fairly, and not done justly, they could be counter-productive."

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