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Sheriff Baca, GOP official expected to square off at hearing on radical Muslims

March 10, 2011 |  4:30 am

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is expected to take another strong stance on behalf of Muslim Americans on Thursday at a highly anticipated congressional hearing in Washington.

Sheriff Lee Baca. The hearing, which has the stated goal of examining "the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims," has been denounced by some critics as stoking anti-Muslim sentiment and unfairly singling out the religious group.

Baca, the only law enforcement official slated to speak, is expected to testify that Muslim Americans in Los Angeles County regularly cooperate with his deputies.

If the past is any indication, the back and forth between the sheriff and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who called the hearing, could get contentious.

During a hearing last year, Baca cut off a congressman who asked the sheriff why he attended fundraisers for a Muslim American group that engaged in "radical" speech.

Baca defended the group, calling the line of questioning from then-Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) "un-American." "If he thinks I'm afraid of what he said, I will go to 10 fundraisers because he said it," Baca said later, before labeling Souder an “amateur intelligence officer."

Other speakers Thursday are expected to include Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is Muslim, and the relatives of two Muslim Americans youths who were radicalized.

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-- Robert Faturechi in Washington

Photos (top): Rep. Peter King. Credit: Associated Press

(bottom): Sheriff Lee Baca. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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