We’re still in the waning days of the 111th Congress, but the distant thunder of the 112th -- with its new GOP House majority – can already be heard on the air waves.
Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, has been crossing swords with New York Republican Peter King, who has suggested that it’s time for an investigation of radicalization in the American Muslim community.
King, a Long Islander, told Fox News “We’ve seen what happened in England, and we know that Al Qaeda is trying to recruit people over here.”
In a recent op ed in Newsday, King also vowed he will “do all I can to break down the wall of political correctness and drive the public debate on Islamic radicalization.”
“It’s scary,” Ellison said Monday night in an appearance on MSNBC’s Ed Schultz show. “I got so concerned that when I heard about it I actually approached Congressman King on the House floor and told him that, you know, look, we all need to be concerned about violent radicalization, but not just against Muslims, against anybody. What about the guy who flew the plane into the IRS, or what about the guy who killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum?”
Ellison, whose Minneapolis district has been fertile recruitment ground for Al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia, argues that King’s initiative would only serve to further alienate Muslims in the U.S.
King has told Fox he doesn’t care if he’s called a “bigot” for his effort. Ellison said King’s plans have “McCarthyistic implications.”
Other business groups like realtors, electric utility Xcel Energy Services, private colleges, tobacco giant Altria, Polymet Mining, health insurers and hospitals contributed to the overall total of $57.7 million to lobby the Legislature, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton and Metro municipal governments.