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Exploring the roots of radicalization in America

Sunday, March 13, 2011; 7:51 PM

I understand Eugene Robinson's call for justice and fairness in his critical comments about the hearing called by Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) on radicalization in the Muslim American community ["A modern-day witch hunt," op-ed, March 11].

But this earnestness needs to be tempered by facts. This inquiry was not about blaming the entire Muslim community for the acts of one or more individuals who "have become radicalized." One way this radicalization occurs is that imams in American mosques preach hate of this country and its culture in ways that may motivate violence. Doesn't this sound like a legitimate area for inquiry?

Mr. King went out of his way to praise the vast majority of Muslims and focus on the dangers of a small percentage of radicals. Those who react to this effort by waving the banner of McCarthyism are free to do so.

But the problem at the mosques is not political theater. It would be irresponsible to inflame public passions against Muslims, but the public needs to understand the problem and be able to discuss it openly. Otherwise, Congress will be forced to hold classified hearings behind closed doors.

Judd Kessler, Bethesda

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Rep. Peter T. King correctly stated that an increasing number of Muslims are becoming radicalized and that this is a problem. But his hearing was likely to make matters worse rather than better. He claimed that it was intended to determine why this trend exists and to find ways to build leadership among the moderate Islamic leaders.

We already know the answer to the first part: the animosity some Americans have directed toward Arab Americans and Muslims.

As for the second question, the answer is also clear: There needs to be more positive leadership from our politicians toward the Muslim community. The leadership Mr. King talks about needs to come from him and his colleagues and be directed toward Americans who are biased against Muslims.

David Martin-McCormick, Washington

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