Thursday, December 28, 2006

Keith Ellison, Muslim Member of Congress

As many already know, the residents of the 5th district of Minnesota elected Keith Ellison, a Muslim to congress. He is the first Muslim ever elected to congress. There is a bit of a controversy over the fact that Rep. Ellison has stated an intent to be sworn in on the Quran instead of a Bible and I am assuming he is going to say so help me Allah as well. I really, really, really do not care. He could request that he be sworn in on a severed goats head and say so help me dark lord and I would not care. If anything the fact that he can be sworn in on the book of his choosing shows how great this country is because we have this thing call the first amendment which states
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

and since the residents of the 5th district of Minnesota do not appear to have an issue with Rep. Ellison's religion or the fact that:
While a law student in 1989 and 1990, Ellison wrote several columns as Keith E. Hakim in the student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. "The first article defended Louis Farrakhan against accusations of antisemitism "[49], defended Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and spoke in the voice of a Nation of Islam advocate."[50]. The second column "called affirmative action a 'sneaky' form of compensation for slavery, suggesting instead that white Americans pay reparations to blacks,"[49]. The third suggested the creation of a separate state for black residents

I would personally be more concerned about his inability to follow laws:
Campaign finance has also been an issue for Ellison. In early 2006, the Minnesota State Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board reprimanded Ellison for unreported contributions, discrepancies in cash balances, and misclassified disbursements. These transgressions occurred in the years 2002-2004. In 2005 when the board tried to get more information about the problems in Ellison's reports, they got no response from Ellison or his treasurer (his wife Kim). When the board heard nothing, they opened the investigation. Ellison was subpoenaed and fined. The board has also fined Ellison numerous times for late filings, been sued twice by the attorney general, and has been warned many times for absent or incomplete disclosure.

Early in Ellison's campaign, his driver's license was suspended for failure to pay multiple tickets and fines. When asked how many times his license has been suspended, he said, "I don't know how many prior suspensions I've had; I don't keep count." Reports indicate that he had accumulated over forty parking and traffic tickets, and that his license was suspended twice. Ellison also failed to pay all or part of his income taxes five separate years between 1992 and 2000, forcing the state and Internal Revenue Service to put liens on his home. He later paid in excess of $18,000

What I find interesting about the situation is when Rep. Ellison recently spoke with a Muslim group and said:
"You can't back down, you can't chicken out, you can't be afraid, you got to have faith in Allah, and you got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause. "Allahu akbar" - God is great - was the reply of many in the crowd.
Once again, I have no problem with him doing that but the response from the separation of church and state crowd... lets just say the silence was deafening.


Unknown said...

Why on earth would the separation of church and state crowd be concerned with what Ellison said at that rally?

He's a Muslim and he's exhorting other Muslims to take pride in their faith. It's no different than if John Kerry or Rick Santorum said that to fellow Catholics, George Bush or Hillary Clinton said it to fellow Methodists, or Joe Lieberman or Rahm Emmanuel saying it to other Jews.

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