06/21/2012 United States (CBN) - In a packed room on Capitol Hill Wednesday, sparks flew as the House Homeland Security Committee held its fifth hearing on radical Islam.
Members of the committee tried to address the problem without appearing anti-Muslim.
From the beginning, critics have compared Republican chairman Rep. Peter King to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who sought to rout out communists within the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s.
Citing poll numbers that show 63 percent of Americans approve of the hearings, King convened this one to gauge Muslim reaction.
"For me this is a lifelong mission to confront the problem within my faith community that are a threat to both my country and my religion," Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said.
The panel included practicing Muslims, who mostly validated the hearings and warned that radicalization in the Muslim community is a real threat.
But one panelist suggested the hearings are counterproductive and not based on facts.
That prompted a strong rebuke from Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who attended the Fort Hood memorial where a Muslim Army psychiatrist shot and killed 13 people.
"This is real. This is real stuff," McCaul said. "...For you to say that these hearing (are) not based on firm factual basis, I'd say you talk with those families."