- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Peter T. King, who will hold hearings this week on Islamic radicalism, has defended his support of the Irish Republican Army’s political wing in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr. King, New York Republican, said the IRA and al Qaeda are very different: The IRA was a narrowly focused, home-grown movement while al Qaeda has attacked the United States and other countries. Mr. King said in an interview Tuesday he was right to advocate that the IRA be brought into peace negotiations to stop the violence.

Mr. King will preside over Thursday’s congressional hearing, which has sparked protests on grounds it unfairly targets Muslims. Mr. King has said he believes the Muslim community should do more to renounce al Qaeda and work with law enforcement.