Long Island Congressman Peter King heaped high praise on Hudson Valley State Senator Greg Ball's plan to host a handful of controversial witnesses this week in Manhattan, calling the hearing on terrorism preparedness "absolutely essential."
"This is a first rate hearing," King said. "I hear some rumblings from people opposed to it. I just wish the Muslim community and the leadership would be much more cooperative on these hearings, not see everything as being an attack on them."
King is slated to testify, as is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. But what has some Democratic lawmakers upset is the presence of Nonie Darwish, a writer who has referred to Islam as "not a true religion" and to President Obama's mother as a "radical" for marrying a Muslim.
Democrats have said that her presence is a distraction from a hearing that is supposed to be about homeland security.
King disagreed. "You can't necessarily separate it. There is a very radical view of Islam which is used to justify these attacks. It's not that people happen to be Muslim, it's that people have a perverse interpretation of Islam and they use that a motivation for these attacks."
Added the congressman: "I don't think you can fight an enemy without knowing who the enemy is. Here it's a very radical form of Islam."
King said that Ball should brace himself for a media firestorm. He said that just the other night he had gone back over the newspaper clips from his own controversial hearing. "I forgot how intense it had gotten. When I was in the middle of it it was happening so fast that I didn't fully realize it. Then I get a little time off and then I get a pig's foot in the mail."