The longest-serving member of the House warned Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) of drifting into McCarthyism with his hearings on the "radicalization" of the Muslim community.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the "dean" of the House of Representatives for his decades of service in that body, warned in his statement before the committee that King's controversial hearings could resemble the anti-communist hearings helpd by Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) in the 1950s.

"I believe this hearing has a potential to create a continuation of the fear and hatred that came after 9/11," Dingell said in his statement. "This hearing must not be permitted to recall the evils of McCarthyism and the divisiveness and ill-will it created amongst our people."

Dingell's arguably the only member of Congress who would have any personal recollection of McCarthyism. He joined Congress in 1955, a year after the height of McCarthy's hearings. But he had plenty of experience in Washington before that, having grown up in the city, and Dingell's father having represented the same Michigan seat Dingell would assume after his father's death.

The hearings are especially important to Dingell, since his district includes the city of Dearborn, a Detroit-area city with one of the largest Arab-American populations in the U.S.

The King hearings have touched a nerve with many Arabs and Muslims, who argue that the inquiry by the House Homeland Security Committee unfairly stigmatizes their communities. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslim members of Congress, was so overcome by emotion that he broke down in tears while testifying before the committee.