Muslims Protest in Times Square Against Terrorism Hearings

Worth Readingby Jim Kouri

Muslims, activists from leftist organizations, community leaders and celebrities in New York City demonstrated in Times Square on Sunday to protest a Congressional hearing on radicalization of U.S. Muslims and the creation of homegrown and "lone wolf" terrorists.

Ironically, the Times Square protest was held at the scene of last year's attempt to bomb the busy theater district using a carload of explosives. The bomber was a radical Muslim with ties to cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki who advocates violence against the U.S. and Israel. Al-Awlaki specializes in recruiting angry, disturbed or disenfranchised young Muslims for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

Holding placards that read "Today I am a Muslim, too," a few hundred people gathered at what the news media termed "the interfaith protest." Attending the protest and speaking to the crowd were Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and hip-hop producer Russell Simmons.

Other celebrities who showed their support include; Juelz Santana, Kimora Lee Simmons & Djimon Hounsou, Adrien Grenier, Cory Booker, Susan Sarandon,Swizz Beatz, Jermaine Dupri, Lorraine Bracco, John Legend, Heather Graham, Jim Jones, Kelly Bensimon, Reverend Run, Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian, Congressman Charles Rangel and others.

Imam Rauf until recently was the leader of the controversial plan to build a mosque and cultural center near the former World Trade Center site. He told the crowd that he was concerned this week's scheduled hearings by Representative Peter King on radicalization of U.S. Muslims would be biased.

In addition, President Barack Obama dispatched one of his top aides to assure Muslims he doesn't believe they are part of the terrorist problem, but part of the solution. Denis McDonough, deputy national security advisor to President Obama, addressed a largely Muslim audience on Sunday.

U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, affirmed that this week his committee will move forward with a series of hearings to examine the threat of Islamic radicalization. That announcement created a firestorm among Muslim leaders and progressive politicians in the United States.

Last week, Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), acting on behalf of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote Chairman King a letter asking that King, instead of focusing on al Qaeda’s efforts to radicalize and recruit within the Muslim-American community, examine extreme environmentalists and neo-Nazis

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