Curious - and civil - visitors wait in line for radicalization hearing
Members of the public and the media watch the radicalization hearings on a TV in an overflow room
March 10th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Curious - and civil - visitors wait in line for radicalization hearing

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

"You have to wait in line sir," a staff member from the House Homeland Security Committee politely told a man as he tried to walk into Cannon Room 311.

She directed him to the back of a long line outside the hearing room for the committee's hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response." The 120 seats in the gallery of the hearing room at the Cannon House Office Building were full and had been all morning.

Muslims and Christians mingled politely as people from across the country patiently waited for their chance to go inside.

Two interns from Utah shared a pair of headphones and listened to the hearings on the C-SPAN I-Phone app while they waited to get in, long after the hearing had begun.

A large group of young adults from the City Church of San Diego said they were in town on a mission trip. "It's important for us to catch a vision of what our government does," Veronica Cornetta said.

They said they hadn't formed an opinion about the hearings.

"We want to try to understand both sides and just pray for them," Brenna Levy said.

"As a Muslim American, I think this is an issue we all need to work together on," Jihad Saleh Williams said as he waited in line.

As a high school student growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Williams converted to Islam, saying he was influenced by hip-hop and the movie "Malcolm X," like many young men his age.

"I'm dating myself when I say that," he said.

Today he practices orthodox Islam and is the government affairs representative for Islamic Relief, a humanitarian group based in Alexandria, Virginia. He said he was worried the hearing would be divisive.

"What is important is to show is how engaged we are in communities, especially in areas like humanitarian aid," he said. "If people are involved and invested in their community, they're more inclined to report nefarious activity when they see it."

"Salam alhakim," a man from the Malaysian ambassador's office greeted Williams with the traditional Muslim salutation.

For Williams the brief exchange was ans example of how diverse the Muslim community in the U.S. is drawing people from all different ethnic backgrounds.

Just look at the line, he said. "There are African-Americans, Southeast Asians, Arabic." Regardless of the way they practice Islam, Williams said, now more than ever, they need to be united.

"Sunni, Shia, Sufi - the community can come together over this," he said.

At the end of the line stood the Rev. Franklin Raddish, wearing a gray suit, white shirt and American flag tie. He and his wife, Pamela, were in town from Greenville, South Carolina.

He said they run a weekly Bible study on Capitol Hill, driving back and forth from their home each week, racking up between 50,000 and 60,000 miles a year. They were there to support House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-New York.

"I believe there's a radicalization of Muslims in the U.S.," he said. "I think their ultimate goal is to raise the Islamic flag over the White House, figuratively."

"You cannot appease evil; it has to be defeated," he said. His wife nodded in agreement.

That point of view was in the minority among those in line. But even in their disagreement, they all remained polite, and waited.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture wars • DC • Islam • Muslim • United States

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. glypebulah

    check this link, louis vuitton replica bags suprisely

    February 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  2. LoneZero

    check M-A-T and freemuslims .org the muslim community have condemed and said this was wrong numerous times but as usual it is downplayed over radical attacks on the news, that's why it's never heard sadly, I've seen articles online and short interviews on local tv and news papers of outrage in the muslim community over attacks but nothing out of a grand media news giant have shown.

    March 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  3. jeff

    IWhen a preacher in America wanted to burn a few korans, christians all over the world stood up and said THIS IS WRONG, however I have seen nothing like this from the muslim community , nothing but silence from the muslim community. SILENCE IMPLIES CONSENT. It seems to be a very violent religion, and the violence is at a level that western religions havent seen since the crusades. and this is just fine with muslims.

    March 16, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  4. Muneef

    Does not these verses speak of the Ancient Falling Systems and the Recent Past and Present Falling Systems? It warns and remind all of the future that if you fail you fall...and those blows come to believers and unbelievers on turns..it tests believers and destroys disbelievers....How much of that happens through wars and conflicts....How much of that through Natural Disasters....Aren't we seeing that all? Isn't it telling us some thing is wrong of our own wrong doing and disbelief....? Man can reverse ill-faith by reversing intentions in to right doings in deeds,actions and spiritual worship,prayers in peace with soul,pay poor due and charity as a belief and a spiritual meditation for soul to have mercy on earth,afterlife,resurrection and judgment day.....?!? What we got to lose,since we all ride the same as ship in the middle of this universe as a ship in the ocean..and every body wants it his way such a ship will never set to sail but to crash and drawn with the whole lot...!?      

    Al-E-Imran sura 03:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Systems have passed away before you. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for those who did deny (the messengers). (137) This is a declaration for mankind, a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil) (138) Faint not nor grieve, for ye will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers. (139) If ye have received a blow, the (disbelieving) people have received a blow the like thereof. These are (only) the vicissitudes which We cause to follow one another for mankind, to the end that Allah may know those who believe and may choose witnesses from among you; and Allah loveth not wrong-doers. (140) And that Allah may prove those who believe, and may blight the disbelievers. (141).

    March 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Al-Araf sura 07:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    I shall turn away from My revelations those who magnify themselves wrongfully in the earth, and if they see each token believe it not, and if they see the way of righteousness choose it nor for (their) way, and if they see the way of error choose if for (their) way. That is because they deny Our revelations and are used to disregard them. (146) Those who deny Our revelations and the meeting of the Hereafter, their works are fruitless. Are they requited aught save what they used to do? (147).

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    On the day when We shall summon all men with their record, whoso is given his book in his right hand – such will read their book and they will not be wronged a shred. (71) Whoso is blind here will be blind in the Hereafter, and yet further from the road. (72) And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend. (73) And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little. (74).

    Al-Furqan sura 25:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    On the day when the wrong-doer gnaweth his hands, he will say: Ah, would that I had chosen a way together with the messenger (of Allah)! (27) Alas for me! Ah, would that I had never taken such an one for friend! (28) He verily led me astray from the Reminder after it had reached me. Satan was ever man's deserter in the hour of need. (29) And the messenger saith: O my Lord! Lo! mine own folk make this Qur'an of no account. (30) Even so have We appointed unto every prophet an opponent from among the guilty; but Allah sufficeth for a Guide and Helper. (31).

    Al-Muzzammil sura 73:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Lo! This is a Reminder. Let him who will, then, choose a way unto his Lord. (19).

    March 14, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  6. Muneef

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    We verily have displayed (Our warnings) in this Qur'an that they may take heed, but it increaseth them in naught save aversion. (41) Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): If there were other gods along with Him, as they say, then had they sought a way against the Lord of the Throne. (42) Glorified is He, and High Exalted above what they say! (43) The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein praise Him, and there is not a thing but hymneth His praise; but ye understand not their praise. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving. (44) And when thou recitest the Qur'an we place between thee and those who believe not in the Hereafter a hidden barrier; (45) And We place upon their hearts veils lest they should understand it, and in their ears a deafness; and when thou makest mention of thy Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn their backs in aversion. (46) We are best aware of what they wish to hear when they give ear to thee and when they take secret counsel, when the evil-doers say: Ye follow but a man bewitched. (47) See what similitudes they coin for thee, and thus are all astray, and cannot find a road! (48).

    Al-Mujadila sura 58:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things. (7).

    March 14, 2011 at 6:51 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.