New York, NY, March 9, 2011 … Noting that a serious examination of the homegrown extremist threat in the United States is needed, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concerns about the Homeland Security hearings opening this week in Washington.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
Homegrown Muslim extremists pose a real threat to the United States, but the issue is one that may be difficult to explore seriously in a hearing that has engendered an unfortunate atmosphere of blame and suspicion of the broader American Muslim community. We need to be careful not to single out an entire community for special scrutiny or suspicion.
Members of the House Committee must act carefully to draw the appropriate line between legitimate concerns and unacceptable stereotyping.
ADL has documented ongoing, dangerous, criminal activities of a variety of extremist and anti-government groups across the ideological spectrum that also merit the committee's attention. We wish these hearings had been announced in the context of a future schedule examining other significant foreign and domestic threats to our nation, and we urge the committee to implement such a schedule now.
In a letter to Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Ranking Member Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and the other committee members, ADL expressed concern about the significant threat posed by fringe extremist elements in the United States.
"One of the most striking elements of today's domestic threat picture is the role that a growing number of American citizens and residents motivated by radical interpretations of Islam have played in criminal plots to attack Americans in the U.S. and abroad." However, "ADL has documented ongoing, dangerous, criminal activities of a variety of extremist and anti-government groups across the ideological spectrum that also merit the committee's attention. We hope you share our view that there is urgent need for the Committee to hold additional hearings on a broad range of other violent international and homegrown threats," the League's letter stated.
The security hearings, entitled, “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response,” are scheduled to begin March 10, 2011.