A Congressional hearing on the radicalization of Muslim Americans has garnered a great deal of attention in recent days.
The March 10 session, which was spearheaded by Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), lasted more than four hours. Although the meeting was slated to be a civil discussion about the impact of Muslim radicalization in the United States, many Democrats used the platform to make statements about the hearing's apparent violation of human rights.
According to media reports, Representative Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) went so far as to compare King's efforts to former Senator Joe McCarthy's hearings about the potential spread of Communism in 1954. Representative Al Green (D-Texas) asked lawmakers why there wasn't a legislative session devoted to the Ku Klux Klan.
Melvin Bledsoe, a Tennessee man, was one of several witnesses that addressed the hearing's topic rather than questioning the merit of the event. Bledsoe's son, Carlos, converted from Christianity to Islam at age 19, then shot two U.S. Army troops in 2009. He blamed Islamic extremists for brainwashing his son, adding that many American children are in danger of being recruited by terrorists.
Bledsoe expressed confusion about the Democrats' staunch resistance to discussing radical Islam on U.S. turf, saying that many of them do not understand the severity of the problem.
In a March 11 column for CNN.com, William J. Bennett defended the hearings. To provide context, he said that any Presidential candidate who did not acknowledge the presence of radical Muslims in America would be quickly discounted by the public.
"The candidate would be seen as unserious, out of touch, not up to the task or just plain wrong. The campaign would be over. And yet, for the weeks and months leading up to the hearing that took place at the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday, critics have cried foul," Bennett wrote.