While New York congressman Peter King conducts hearings in the House Homeland Security Committee on radicalization of Muslims in America, local Islamic leaders say they take offense at the very nature of the hearings.
Imam Mikal Saahir leads the Nur-Allah Islamic Center in Indianapolis. Saahir says his congregation, comprised almost entirely of U.S. citizens, does not see the hearings as constructive or responsible.
“Once our American society begins letting one group be isolated out for whatever reason or definition,” he said, “then we are going down a slippery slope.”
Saahir feels the Islamic community in the United States is being singled out by the hearings, something he says no group of people deserves.
“They don’t have the right to categorize our religion,” he said, “and expect us to jump through the hoops they have designed for us to jump through. No other religion is going through that, and if it was, I hope the Muslim community would rise up and defend the other religions.”
Indiana University Political Science professor Michael McGinnis doesn’t think the hearings will have a significant effect on Muslim relations in the United States.
“I don’t think there is going to be much that comes out of these particular hearings,” he said. “I think it’s more a question of blowing off some steam and raising some heat on the issues, but I don’t see anything substantial coming out of this.”