Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First Muslim Member of US Congress

For the first time ever, a Muslim is elected to be a member of US Congress. His decision to use al-Quran for reenactment of the swearing in ceremony was heavily criticized by a columnist, a representative and the public. However, he defended his action, and the al-Quran thas was used in the ceremony was originally owned by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of US.
"It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Quran."

During an interview with CNN, he was asked about his opinion on “Muslim extremists”. He replied, “They're criminals. But I think that people who commit criminal acts should be treated like criminals, regardless of their faith.” He has also said, "Osama bin Laden no more represents Islam than Timothy McVeigh represented Christianity."(McVeigh had links to the Christian Identity commune in Elohim City, Oklahoma).

In an interview with BBC, one of the earliest questions addressed to him is whether his faith will affect his policy-making decisions, he simply replied that Islam is very important in his private affairs, but it will not affect his public decisions. Rather, the needs of his constituency will be the main factor. He supported for immediate withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq, and believed that military actions are no longer relevant in building a better Iraq. Instead, diplomatic approaches are more suitable to solve the current problems in Iraq. With regard to Palestine and Israel, he argued that there is still hope for peace, although it will take times to end the conflicts. It is time for the leaders to seriously discuss for a permanent solution.

Surely all these will make US politics more interesting.
Keith Ellison Homepage
Wikipedia Link on Keith Ellison

No comments: