Islamic terror hearings will feature Rep. Ellison, and also one of his critics 

In the run-up to  his House Committee hearings on Islam and domestic terrorism today, Rep. Peter King R-N.Y., has criticized Islamic groups for resisting law enforcement attempts to uncover the terrorists in their midst. This has attracted a lot of negative attention for him. And one of King's most vocal critics -- Rep. Keith Ellison D-Minn. -- will be among the first to testify at King's hearings. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, and he has derided the the King hearings as “McCarthyistic” and criticized the "pinpointing of Muslims."

But Ellison isn't merely expressing understandable anger at the insensitivity of targeting Muslims. He also appears to be in denial that the problem even exists, despite the fact that it is very real in his own Congressional District. Some 20 Somali-American youths from Minneapolis have disappeared in recent years, and all are believed to have been recruited to fight for an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, al Shabaab.

Ellison has addressed the issue by claiming that the Somali youths were not actually recruited at the mosque that they and their families attended, but rather over the phone and Internet remotely from Somalia. Ellison in particular blamed the fact that cell phone service between the U.S. and Somalia is excellent.

Ellison has also suggested that Somali-Americans who leave Minnesota to fight for Al Shabaab should be rescued and reintegrated into American society, which FBI agents testified in March 2009 is more or less al Qaeda's plan for creating sleeper cells:

“If recruits were to be indoctrinated abroad and later returned to America, they could ‘provide Al-Qaida with trained extremists inside the United States.’”

In February, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that Islamic terrorist groups have now placed "an increased emphasis on recruiting Americans and westerners to carry out attacks.”

After Ellison addresses King's panel, one of his constituents, Abdirizak Bihi, will discuss how his nephew was among those recruited by Islamic terrorists, disappeared from Minneapolis, and then turned up dead on a Somali battlefield. Bihi, the director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, is an outspoken critic of Ellison. He helped convince several Somali families to cooperate with federal authorities in the investigation of the disappearance of the young men, which led to federal indictments of several alleged terrorists and fundraisers. He accuses some other Islamic community leaders and the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of subtly discouraging Somalis from cooperating with the authorities, for fear that their sons would wind up in Guantanamo if they did.

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