House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King is preparing for a second Muslim "radicalization" hearing focused on the threat in American prisons this upcoming week.
King (R-N.Y.) announced Thursday that the second installment of his meetings on the "Radicalization of the Muslim-American Community" will be held on Wednesday. The focus, he says, will be the U.S. prison system.
In a statement, he described the hearing's agenda saying, "We will focus on a number of the serious cases in which radicalized current and former inmates have planned and launched attacks or attempted to join overseas Islamic terrorist organizations."
King stated that the hearing is necessary because of a reported increase in the number of cases in which inmates have been radicalized at the hands of jailed terrorists and extremist imam chaplains.
The first meeting in March divided the religious community.
Several interfaith groups questioned the reasoning of the first hearing saying that it would demonize America's peace-loving Muslims. However, some evangelicals praised the meeting as useful.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, publicly commended the meetings for allowing Muslim leaders to separate themselves from Islamic terrorists and establish their loyalty to the United States.
On the day of the March hearing, several Congress members spoke out in protest.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim, broke down as he testified in defense of U.S. Muslims who are loyal members of American society.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) said the meeting would be ineffective because it is tainted by the title. "You can't clean [a dirty kitchen] with dirty water," she contended.
Still the witnesses affirmed the usefulness of a public discussion focused on radical Islam.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, lauded the hearing as the beginning of an important conversation. Jasser, a self-described devout Muslim, defended the title noting that refusing to focus on radical Islam is "like trying to treat cancer without saying the name."
Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali Muslim whose nephew was recruited by the terrorist group Al Shabab, said after the meeting, "Today was a victory for those looking for the right and the liberty to speak up."
King also saw the March hearing as "extremely productive" and said it "broke down a wall of political correctness."
Still, King said he is taking extra care in organizing the upcoming meeting.
"This radicalization hearing, like the one in March, will be a deliberate and thoughtful examination of an issue that is too important for our security to ignore," he said.
The list of witnesses for the hearing has not been released, but the meeting is said to include U.S. and international experts.