A crowd of several hundred gathered in New York's Times Square on Sunday to protest congressional hearings this week on radicalization within the Muslim community, arguing that the hearings threaten to single out one religious group unfairly.
The demonstrators heard from rabbis, imams and an Episcopal priest arguing that the hearings arranged by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., would stigmatize Muslims. Opponents want King to expand the scope of the hearings beyond Muslims.
"To single out Muslim-Americans as the source of homegrown terrorism and not examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist belief, that my friends is an injustice," said Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the co-founder of a project to develop a Muslim center near ground zero, said American Muslims were loyal Americans "also concerned about radicalism." He called on King "to hold hearings into radicalism and not into Muslims."
Several demonstrators held up signs sayings "Today I am a Muslim, Too." One protester, Nechesa Morgan, 39, a T-shirt designer from Brooklyn, held a sketch of King accusing him of bigotry.
A much smaller group held a rally nearby in support of King's hearings.