Rep.-Elect Meehan Gets On Board With Rep. Peter King's Muslim Investigations

January 04, 2011 12:45 pm ET — Kate Conway

During Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) appearance on The O'Reilly Factor last night, the well-known anti-Muslim congressman defended his plans to hold hearings on "the radicalization of the American Muslim community." "There is a real issue," King told host Bill O'Reilly. "Al Qaeda has realized it's very difficult for them to come in from the outside. What they are doing is recruiting Muslims in this country or under the radar screen." He ticked off a few examples of terrorism that occurred over the last year, then continued:

These are people living in the Muslim community. And I have said — and I have spoken to many people in law enforcement over the years — that for whatever reason Muslim leaders are not doing enough to cooperate with law enforcement. There's actually been instances of imams instructing the people in their mosques not to cooperate with law enforcement on major investigations. So I want to see what the extent of the radicalization is, and the extent of Muslim cooperation.

Less than 24 hours later, Rep.-elect Patrick Meehan, a Republican from Pennsylvania appointed by King to chair the counterterrorism and intelligence subcommittee, popped up on the same network and offered tentative support for his colleague's plans. Asked by Fox News host Martha MacCallum if he was "on board with having these hearings," Meehan replied:

Well I want to be certain that we don't just try to typecast, you know, a broad spectrum of people, but I am very aware of radicalization that is taking place, for instance within our prison system. It's something that I saw as a prosecutor. You already have a ready-made audience that is susceptible to influence, and the real effort right now is to identify individuals who have the ability to be influenced, oftentimes American citizens. We've seen this with efforts that have been carried out before. So I don't know that it's a whole class. I think it's an attempt to try to find individuals who will carry out acts of terrorism.


While Meehan certainly didn't exude King's enthusiasm for demonizing American Muslims, he did provide disheartening proof that other members of Congress are willing to offer legitimacy to King's plans to root through the American Muslim community on a hunt for "homegrown terrorists" and the supposed multitudes of terror-sympathizing Muslim leaders.