(Fox News) — The nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group and other organizations are stoking opposition to a hearing planned later this week in Washington which will delve into the threat posed by Islamic radicalization.
But Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee hosting the hearing, said Monday that he’s on the same page as the White House when it comes to addressing that threat and engaging moderates in the American Muslim community.
Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday in Times Square to accuse King of unfairly targeting Muslims. The event featured celebrities like hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and was backed by a slew of religious organizations and leaders.
King, though, pinned blame for the backlash on the Council on American Islamic Relations. Noting CAIR’s history as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a terrorist funding case, King said CAIR is exactly the kind of group Muslim leaders should “push aside.”
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper acknowledged his organization has been organizing opposition to the hearing “from the very beginning,” but said the backlash is broad-based.
“We’d like to take credit for being the sole opposition to his witch hunt, but in fact it’s actually, literally hundreds of interfaith and community groups, civil liberties organizations who are opposed to these hearings in their current form,” Hooper said, adding that his organization continues to be concerned about “bias” at the upcoming hearing.