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Thoughts from Temecula imam about House hearing on Islam

Mahmoud Harmoush at a Temecula planning commission hearing, December 2010.
Mahmoud Harmoush at a Temecula planning commission hearing, December 2010.
Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Emotions ran raw Thursday during the House Committee on Homeland Security’s hearings on the “extent of radicalization.” On Wednesday, KPCC’s Multi-American blog spoke to Imam Mahmoud Harmoush of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley for his thoughts on the hearing.

Harmoush was among those who responded to a query from KPCC’s Public Insight Network inviting local Muslims and people of all faiths to share their take on Thursday’s hearings. He agreed to allow his response to be published:

Q: King’s hearing is titled: “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” How, if at all, does King’s asking these questions in Congress change how you feel or speak about Islam?

A: This type of investigation assumed that the claim of radicalization is a fact, he just want(s) to know to what extent? Thus, It seems that I need to defend Muslims that they are not radicals! It is very disappointing to have a legislator instigating doubt and hatred instead of harmony and respect among our citizens of different religious convictions.

Q: What evidence, if any, do you see within your own faith community that members are exposed to radical political messages? How do you respond to such messages?

A: There is no real evidence of radicalization among the Muslims population, but if there is any such acts, then education will be the way to clear such behavior and provide a true and correct guidance.

Q: Have you or members of your faith community been approached by law enforcement officers asking about purported political or radical messages from members or religious leaders? What happened?

You can read the full Q&A on KPCC’s Multi-American blog.