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Since United States House Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) opened congressional hearings regarding homegrown radicalization amongst American Muslims on March 10, critics have leveled vociferous claims against the proceedings, including those of McCarthyism and racial profiling.

While emotional responses to King’s hearings have been at the forefront of news media, members of the Penn Muslim community appear more introspective than voluble.

Many also feel conflicted. While some concede that discussions addressing the issue of Islamic radicalization must take place, they are troubled by the way King has turned the hearings into an inquisition of the American Muslim community.

The issue is being approached in a way that alienates Muslims, said Wharton junior Faizan Khan, vice president of the Muslim Student Association.

Khan also said a disturbing aspect of the King proceedings is how he — and other Muslim Americans — are the subject of debate.

“Whether it’s intentional or unintentional,” he said, “they’re debating me and my friends and family.”

Though radicalization is a problem and needs to be a topic open for discussion, identifying American Muslims as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution is damaging, Khan said.

“Of course there is an issue of radicalization,” College sophomore Mak Hussin said. However, it’s somewhat “overblown.”

According to Hussin, the issue of Islamic radicalization compromises the image of Muslims in America.

Among American Muslims, he said, the issue of radicalization “is a discussion that is already opened.”

Professor Fariha Khan, associate director of the Asian-American studies program, said it’s “perfectly legitimate to investigate radicalism.”

However Khan added, when the investigation focuses on one community, it sends “a very explicit” message.

The proceedings “seem to posit Muslim identity against American identity,” the professor said. “I think Muslim Americans feel very conflicted about it. It can be very divisive in the long run.”

Khan also said there may be a level of mistrust between American Muslims and mainstream culture.

Ultimately, she added, with the perception of the Muslim community hanging in the balance, “it would be interesting to know how much [Muslim students] follow the proceedings.”

“It’s really critical to know what’s going on,” Khan said.

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