Pleas, Protests as Islam Hearings Loom

Security official blasts stigmas ahead of domestic radicalization hearings

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 7, 2011 7:36 AM CST

(Newser) – The White House is calling on Americans not to stigmatize all followers of Islam, as Congress readies hearings on al-Qaeda’s attempts to radicalize US Muslims. In the US, "we don’t practice guilt by association," a top national security official said yesterday in what Politico calls a "public plea" at a Virginia mosque. "We must resolve that, in our determination to protect our nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few."

Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough later deflected questioning as to whether the speech was a response to the hearings, set to begin Thursday. When pressed, he added, "“We welcome congressional involvement in the issue. It’s a very important issue." Meanwhile, opponents of the hearings staged 500-person-strong protest in Times Square, notes the New York Times. “To single out Muslim-Americans as the source of homegrown terrorism and not examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist belief—that, my friends, is an injustice,” said a rabbi who was among the event’s speakers.

A protester in support of a planned congressional hearing on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism holds up signs during a protest, Sunday, March 6, 2011 in New York.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Feb. 16, 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
A protester holds up a sign at the "Today, I Am A Muslim, Too" rally to protest against a planned congressional hearing on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism, Sunday, March 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
Protesters gather at the "Today, I Am A Muslim, Too" rally to protest against a planned congressional hearing on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism, Sunday, March 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
Protesters in support of a planned congressional hearing on the role of Muslims in homegrown terrorism holds up a sign during a protest, Sunday, March 6, 2011 in New York.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
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