Bonnie Petrie, 1080 KRLD

DALLAS (KRLD) – The chair of a congressional panel investigating homegrown terrorism is dismissing what he calls unwarranted “rage and hysteria” surrounding a hearing he opened today.

New York Republican Peter King says al-Qaida is trying to recruit young Americans to attack the United States, and the American Muslim community isn’t doing enough to speak out or help police. KRLD’s Bonnie Petrie spoke to one of those Muslim-Americans today.

Rep. King has been accused of McCarthyism over the hearings.  He says his effort is neither radical nor un-American. He called the inquiry “the logical response” to warnings from the Obama administration, citing Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough’s comments that “al Qaeda and its adherents have increasingly turned to another troubling tactic: attempting to recruit and radicalize people to terrorism here in the United States…This threat is real, and it is serious.”

One Democrat is accusing a House panel of playing into the hands of al-Qaida, by holding a hearing today focusing on homegrown terror and the threat that American Muslims can be recruited for attacks. But that claim from Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas was challenged by Republicans like Michael McCaul, also of Texas, who said, “We have to know our enemy” — and that in his view, it’s “radical Islam.”

(Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Dallas, The Associated Press contributed to this report)