Rep. King Defends Past Support Of IRA; Current Focus On Muslims : The Two-Way The difference is that the Irish Republican Army never attacked America, says the congressman, who holds a hearing Thursday on "Muslim radicalization."

Rep. King Defends Past Support Of IRA; Current Focus On Muslims

Since a Washington Post story over the weekend pointed out that in the mid-1980s Rep. Peter King (R-NY) "was one of the most zealous American defenders of the militant [Irish Republican Army] and its campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland," there's been a growing buzz on the Web about whether he's being hypocritical by planning to hold a hearing Thursday on what he says is the growing danger of "Muslim radicalization" in the U.S.

Today, the AP reports that King:

"Told The Associated Press that radical Islam is a distinct threat that must be investigated regardless of whose sensibilities are offended. The congressman, a Republican, pointed to his support in the 1990s for hearings into right-wing militias, on grounds that they were the danger of that time.

"He supported the Irish Republican Army's political wing in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when the IRA was involved in violence in Northern Ireland. He says now that the IRA and al-Qaida are very different and that the IRA never attacked America. The IRA, he says, was a narrowly focused homegrown movement.

"Of the current situation, he said in an interview, 'You have a violent enemy from overseas which threatens us and which is recruiting people from a community living in our country. That's ... what this hearing's going to be.' "