First Muslim elected to Congress: Bro. Keith Ellison

First Muslim elected to Congress

Minn. Democrat converted in college, was once with Nation of Islam

MINNEAPOLIS – Voters elected a black Democrat as the first Muslim in Congress on Tuesday after a race in which he advocated quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and made little mention of his faith.

Keith Ellison, a 43-year-old defense attorney and state representative, was projected to defeat two rivals to succeed retiring Democrat Martin Sabo in a seat that has been held by Democrats since 1963.

Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student in his native Detroit, won with the help of Muslims among a coalition of liberal, anti-war voters. “We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists,” he said. “We brought in everybody.”
Ellison said his race and religion weren’t as important as issues such as Iraq and health insurance for all. “We still have 43 million American uninsured. This is a problem for everyone in the United States,” he said.

He advocates an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq along with strongly liberal views. While Ellison did not often speak of his faith during the campaign, awareness of his candidacy drew interest from Muslims well beyond the district centered in Minneapolis.

Surprise choice of faithful
A significant community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis cast their first votes for him in the crowded September primary. Ellison also was the surprise choice of party regulars.

While Muslim Americans make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population and have largely been a non-factor in terms of political power, get-out-the-vote efforts in several Muslim communities could indicate they may become an emerging force.

Roughly 2 million Muslims are registered U.S. voters, and their ranks increased by tens of thousands in the weeks prior to Tuesday’s mid-term elections, Muslim groups have said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Islamic militants, Muslim Americans have become sensitized to what many feel is an erosion of their civil rights. U.S. foreign policy that targets Muslim countries also has generated a sense of urgency, experts said.

“(Americans) treat us differently after Sept. 11. My own father was attacked,” said Ellison supporter Khadra Darsame, a 1995 immigrant from Somalia. “Ellison said everybody matters equally and he told us what he would do … he will do the right thing.”

Born into a Roman Catholic family in Detroit, Ellison said his values were shaped by both faiths, along with his grandfather’s civil rights work in the Deep South.

Opponents focused on Ellison’s sloppy handling of his taxes and a slew of unpaid parking tickets, along with his one-time affiliation with the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, has been criticized for making anti-Semitic remarks. Ellison subsequently said he worked with the group largely to promote the 1995 Million Man March.

Ellison also denounced Farrakhan, and he won the endorsement of a Minneapolis Jewish newspaper.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: First Muslim elected to Congress

13 Replies to “First Muslim elected to Congress: Bro. Keith Ellison”

  1. This is so awesome! Alhamdulillah! I get so annoyed when Muslims become so indifferent about politics here in America. They always have that idiotic additude that we can’t do anything here politically. Alhamdulillah, this is one small step to getting our voices across. I am so happy that Keith Ellison won!

  2. I’m one of those apathetic people. It’s good that he won and all, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too soon because this is politics and there are many anti-Islam politicians in Congress & the Senate. A lot of them are not publically verbal about it but a few of them are pretty vocal correlating Islam to Terrorism. Like Congressman Peter King who I think won again.

  3. Mashallah, good for him and the Muslim community. But has anyone heard of this guy?

    Ahmed Hassan , a republican for texas’ 18th district. How weird? He is egyptian and he lost.

    And this guy, Ali Mohamed, running for election from the Bronx’ 8th District. Apparently he is Catholic!! With a name like that where has the world gone, lol. He is republican and he lost too.

    I just wonder if anyone heard about these guys?

  4. Reggae Powered DC2 on November 8, 2006 at 2:05 am said:

    Alhamdulillah a Muslim is in Congress, but what does that mean exactly? Inshallah he can do something for Muslims in America, because his agrees with the Current Foreign Policy in regards to Iran and Palestine/Israel.

    I hope Brother Ellison does not truly believe this, but rather has “conformed” his opinion in order to get elected to the U.S. Congress. 😛 These days, saying anything negative about Israel automatically earns someone the label of being “anti-Semetic,” which is not good for anyone living in the U.S., let alone for someone running for Congress. Also, the article MR posted shows that he had to still battle with the “anti-Semetic” label for his work with the Nation of Islam.

    However, in the link you provided, he states that, “Terrorism is the greatest impediment to peace. At this point the Palestinian Authority (PA) has yet to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank.” He also states that, “Only with a democratic Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel can the safety of the entire region be assured.” These statements seem to imply that it is the Muslims who are indeed terrorists and that Israel is the “victim,” as the media always portrays it out to be.

    Nevertheless, I am glad to see Brother Ellison in the U.S. Congress and hope that it marks the beginning of a more influential Muslim voice in American politics because the results have an enormous impact on Muslims throughout the world, especially in Palestine/Gaza and Iraq.


  5. Mash’Allah its great to see him succeed but I just hope the media doesn’t start deframing him. Insh’Allah I’ll join him one day.

  6. i saw on tv, him, saying he supports israel and that he is/was nation of islam. he said those things on FOX in an interview. Its hard to believe he’s a muslim.

  7. Nihal: Its hard to believe hes a Muslim? That is why Allah is Al-Hakam and the judge and not you.

    He gave shahadah – Allah guided his heart to Him, and he has accepted the deen of Al-Haqq. If you are critical of his political views thats fine but to question his status as a Muslim is beyond reprehensible.

  8. Look guys….Israel…it happened, let’s move on. Not the atrocities of course not, but let’s recognize it’s existance? Please? If we keep saying Isreal and its ppl should be wiped off the map then we really aren’t helping the situation there, or being good Muslims, are we?

    Another thing, his political career would be in big jeopardy if he didn’t have this stance on Israel. And then we wouldn’t have a Muslim in Congress to begin with?

  9. According to Israel a good Muslim is a Dead Muslim.

    According to US Gov’t a good Muslim is one that accepts bribes.

    Egypt accepted an annual payment of 2 billion dollars from the US to recognize Isreal in 1978.

    You’re right some “Muslim” leaders have said that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’ but that’s because they will not be bought or be intimidated by US Gov’t.

    The latest atrocity in Palestine – (the latest on American TV News that is) 19 civilians Palestians killed by Israel who called thier act a “technical mistake”.

    Isreal is an apartheid state that allows the separation of unequal races,that was founded on terror, violence, on ruined foundations of a living Palestinian society, that has a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction aimed at Muslim Countries.

    He shouldn’t have that stance because what Isreal stands for iS in itself Anti – American.

    A good muslim is not defined by political analysis of our times.

    A good muslim reads & follows Quran, prays 5 times a day, gives Zakkat, helps the poor, tries to mimic Prophet Muhammah(SAW).

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