The Catholic University of America


Professor Marshall Breger Guests on Diane Rehm Show
about House Hearings on Radicalization of Islamic Americans


Catholic University law professor Marshall Breger expressed skepticism about the usefulness of controversial hearings convened by the House Committee on Homeland Security on the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S.

Speaking as a guest on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show on March 10, Breger said, “Hearings on the Hill are always political theater. But you need responsible people to manage that theater. I don’t see any evidence that these hearings are meant to tread lightly.”

Chaired by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., (above left) the hearings have been heatedly criticized in some quarters since their announcement, with comparisons made to McCarthyism and witch hunts.
Breger and his fellow guests on the nationally syndicated program did not declare efforts to recruit a new generation of Islamic terrorists a subject off-limits for congressional attention, but they emphasized that tone, context, and even the selection of witnesses to offer testimony all send a signal to Muslim-Americans.
“This could be useful, but I don’t think it's set up to be useful. This project of Peter King’s is not designed to have a happy ending,” said Breger.
Breger has long been active in working to improve ties to the Muslim community. He organized a symposium at the National Press Club in Oct. 2010, titled “Islam and America: The Challenge of Expanding the Judeo-Christian Paradigm,” and also led a delegation of Imams and other leaders to Auschwitz, Poland, last summer. 
“There is a kind of open season on Islam now,” Breger commented on the radio program. “It has been said that Sharia law should be outlawed, or that there are too many mosques in America. No one would say that Judaism should be outlawed, or that there are too many synagogues in America.”

Breger's fellow guests included:
  • Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic studies at American University and author of "Journey into America"
  • Juan Zarate, senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior national security analyst at CBS News; former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism under the Bush Administration
  • Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and author of "The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists"