As the new House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is busy preparing to hold hearings on the "radicalization" of American Muslims.
But King wasn't so busy that he couldn't take a few minutes Tuesday to appear on a conservative radio show, and claim that four out of five mosques in the US were "controlled by radical imams."
"Congressman, how widespread do you think this radical jihad sentiment is in US mosques?" the guest host on Laura Ingraham's radio show asked. "How many mosques do you think are infected by this?"
"The only real testimony we have on it is from Sheikh Kabbani who was a Muslim leader during the Clinton Administration, he testified back in 1999 and 2000 before the State Department that he thought over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams," King replied. "Certainly from what I’ve seen and dealings I’ve had, that number seems accurate."
"What people will tell you in the Muslim community is that an imam does not have the same level of power, the same level of authority, for instance, that rabbis or priests or ministers would have, but in that case, they can get other spokesmen. Don't allow these imams to be spokesmen for the community," he added.
But the lawmaker's statistics don't match up with a more recent survey. The 2004 Detroit Mosque Study found that only "six percent of Detroit's mosque-attending population espoused" radical views.
In December, King said he would be willing to be called a "bigot" if that's what it took to target radical Muslims.
The New York congressman has also said that there are "too many mosques in this country."
The upcoming hearings on Muslims in America have been likened to Sen. Joe McCarthy's hunt for communists.
At over 1.2 billion adherents, Islam was the fastest-growing religion in the world at the beginning of the last decade. The Koran, their foundational document, states that the only war permitted to Muslims is one of self defense, and that the highest goal of true believers must be charity.
This audio is from the Laura Ingraham Show, broadcast Jan 25, 2010 and uploaded by Think Progress.