At a House hearing on Muslim-American radicalization in prisons Wednesday, several Democrat members were anxious to focus on anything but the topic at hand, instead bringing up threats in prisons posed by "right-wing" radicals, gun possession, and gang members.
"The violent right-wing ideology of many of these gangs must be discussed," said ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson when stating his case why the committee should be focusing on "extremists of all stripes."
He also tried to shift the spotlight to gun shows.
"Earlier this month, Adam Gadahan, an American-born spokesman for al Qaeda, released a video calling on Muslims to commit acts of violence against America by taking advantage of the gun show loophole," Thompson said.
Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson of California called holding such hearings as this one "discriminatory" for focusing on a particular religious group and tried to make the argument that gangs are radicalized in prison.
The comments by congressional members eventually prompted a response from California Rep. Dan Lungren.
""The political correctness in this room is astounding," said Lungren, the former attorney general of California.
Former Assistant United States Attorney of the Central District of California Kevin Smith, one of the witnesses, pointed out the difference between the threats posed by jihadi inmates versus those of gangs, explaining that a gang member is interested in enriching himself, whereas jihadis are only interested in criminal activity as a means to jihad.
Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas brought up the issue of Christian militants, to which hearing witness Patrick Dunleavy, retired deputy inspector general in the New York State Department of Correctional Services, responded, "I don't know that Christian militants have foreign country backing or foreign country financing."
Dunleavy later said that foreign governments have provided funds for New York state Islamic chaplains to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.
Committee Chairman Rep. Pete King of New York reminded the Democrats that their party held the committee reigns for four years and never held a committee hearing on prisons.