'Al-Qaeda actively targeting American-Muslims for recruitment'

"I have repeatedly said that the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans and make enormous contributions to our country.  But there are realities we can't ignore," said Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security.

"Al-Qaeda realizes that the measures we have put in place over the past nine and a half years make it very difficult to launch a large-scale attack against our homeland from outside the country which is why they have altered their strategy and are using people living legally in the United States," he said.

King said the plotters include New York City subway bomber Najibullah Azazi, US Army Major Nidal Hasan, Colleen LaRose known as "Jihad Jane", Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, Little Rock Recruiting Center shooter, Carlos Bledsoe, whose father was a witness today; and dozens of individuals in Minneapolis associated with the Somali terrorist organisation al-Shabaab, and the uncle of one of those young men who was radicalized in Minneapolis, sent to Somalia and eventually killed is also with us here today.

"And then there's also the Mumbai plotter, David Headley," King said listing out some of the high profile recent terrorist cases in the US.

"The US is accused of engaging in a modern day crusade against Islam. We cannot give this lie a place to live. I cannot help but wonder how propaganda about this hearing, focuses on American Muslim community, will be used by those who speak to inspire a new generation of suicide bombers," Ranking Democrat Bennie Thompson said.

Congressman Keith Ellison argued that ascribing evil acts of a few individuals to an entire community is wrong, it is ineffective and it risks making our country less safe.

"It's true that specific individuals, including some who are Muslims, are violent extremists.
However, these are individuals, not entire communities. Individuals like Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Faisel Shazad, and Nidal Hasan do not represent the Muslim community," he said.
Testifying before the committee, Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said he believe there are small elements with significant elements of ideology within our community that is radicalizing based on the identification, the lack of identification and the separatism, and the disenfranchisement of certain Muslims from this society that makes them not bond, makes them not trust the government, makes them distrust the FBI and creates a culture of a lack of cooperation.

Releasing a copy of his testimony before the hearing Rev Dr C Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, said there is no doubt that our nation faces serious threats to its security both at home and abroad, but the continued demonisation of Muslims and questioning of the Muslim faith is not the answer.

Conducting hearings into what is being presented as a major trend of "radicalisation" in the Muslim community that leads to violence, when there is little to no evidence to support that claim, is also a real threat, he said.

"Posing questions like 'whether the American Muslim community is becoming radicalised' or 'whether the American Muslim community is cooperating with law enforcement' has the dangerous potential to intensify, rather than to lessen, prejudice toward Muslims and puts an unjustifiably greater responsibility on Muslim Americans to help root out terrorism than is placed on Americans of other faiths and belief systems," Gaddy said.

Senior national religious leaders of several faiths including, Jews, Christians and Muslims on Wednesday announced that they will converge on Capitol Hill tomorrow to protest King's congressional hearings on the radicalisation of the American Muslim community.

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