San Diego Islamic leaders react to the controversial hearing on Islamic terrorism

On Capitol Hill Thursday, lawmakers tackled a controversial issue: whether al Qaeda is actively recruiting American Muslims to commit acts of terror. Locally, a coalition of religious and civil rights leaders reacted strongly to the hearings. KUSI's Ed Lenderman was at the San Diego Islamic Center and reports on their reactions.

What we heard over and over Thursday was this: what's going on in Washington is a sad way to combat terrorism.

They represent a broad spectrum of San Diego's religious and civil rights communities and they came together Thursday at the Islamic Center for one purpose–to condemn in the harshest possible terms the hearings led by New York Representative Peter King Thursday.

The hearings, say the leaders, are unfairly putting the Islam religion on trial and will only lead to further discrimination against Muslim-Americans.

The local chapter of the council on American-Islamic relations made a pointed reference to this internet video of what the council is calling a hatefest demonstration last month at Muslim charity fundraiser in Orange County.

The group said they are concerned this will spark more high-profiling against the Islamic community. And they are worried that America is investigating communities and not individuals, beliefs and not actions.

The leaders believe that Congressman King could have held this hearing without demonizing the Islamic community but instead has chosen to myopically narrow the investigation.

The group also disputed King's notion  that American-Muslims in general and community leaders specifically, need to work more closely with police and the FBI. That included a statement by FBI Director Robert Mueller, “Many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.”

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