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On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, thinks Muslim Americans are being radicalized in U.S. prisons, and he’s promised a “deliberate and thoughtful examination of the issue” during a hearing on Wednesday.

“To which detractors say: impossible,” reports the Washington Post‘s On Faith website.

As was the case with his March hearing on the radicalization of Muslim Americans, the detractors are accusing the congressman of scare-mongering. They see this week’s hearing as being rooted in no more than Islamophobia. The Post reports:

But as King told Fox News on Monday, there’s “absolutely nothing wrong” with inmates converting to Islam. “The problem,” he said, “is when you get radical Muslims. You get radical chaplains who then radicalize them and turn them toward terrorism or turn them toward violence.”

King is hardly the first person to voice of concern about the radicalization of Muslims in American prisons. FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee six years ago that prisons were “fertile ground” for Islamic extremists. Even before that, in 2003, Sen. Charles Schumer, the Democrat of New York, expressed concern that U.S. inmates were being recruited by followers of the ultraconservative brand of Islam known as Wahhabism.

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