The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., plans to investigate the radicalization of American Muslims next year. "When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders," King said.
He pointed to the case of Najibullah Zazi, a legal resident of the United States, who was arrested in September 2009 in conjunction with an al-Qaida plot to attack Manhattan subway lines.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the plan, which involved the use of at least a dozen small backpack bombs to hit the subway, "one of the most serious threats to our nation since September 11th, 2001." Zazi, who pled guilty to terror charges in connection with the plot and faces a life sentence, admitted to training with al Qaida in Pakistan and discussing attacks on subway trains with leaders of the group.
While investigating Zazi, King noted, New York Police Department detectives spoke with Ahmad Wais Afzali, an imam in Queens who had been an NYPD informant in the past. Afzali contacted Zazi the following day to inform him that the police were asking questions. As a result, authorities who had been recording Zazi's conversations were forced to hastily conduct raids to prevent suspects from fleeing and destroying evidence.
A week later, Afzali lied in an interview with members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force, saying he had not told Zazi that the authorities had approached him. In April, Afzali pled guilty to lying to federal agents and subsequently left the United States to avoid deportation.
Salam al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), attacked King's plans to investigate the radicalization problem. King "basically wants to treat the Muslim-American community as a suspect community," he said.
King was potentially undermining the relationship that Muslim leaders had sought to build with law enforcement around the country, al-Marayati told the New York Times. Read here about how MPAC and al-Marayati have exaggerated the extent of the Muslim community's assistance to law enforcement.