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A second Muslim congressman

As I foreshadowed in a post Sunday, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis has lost his status as first and only Muslim in Congress. Well, barring a startling historical revelation about Henry Clay’s secret commitment to Islam, Ellison will remain the first, but no longer the only.

While most politically obsessed eyes last night were on the Mississippi primary (no surprises there), Democrat Andre Carson, 33, a self-described “Orthodox, universal, secular Muslim,” won a special election to fill a vacancy in Indiana’s Seventh District. The vacancy was created by the death of the six-term incumbent, Julia Carson, who, not coincidentally, was Andre Carson’s grandmother and had requested from her deathbed that her grandson be nominated to succeed her. Grandmother Carson was a Christian, and Grandson Andre was raised Christian but, like Ellison, converted to Islam as a young man.

Anyway, Carson handily dispatched his Republican opponent by yesterday 54-43 percent (there was also a Libertarian).

“I’m a proud Hoosier,” Carson said after his speech Tuesday night. “I’m an Indy 500 Hoosier, I’m a Covered Bridge Festival Hoosier, I’m a Black Expo Hoosier, I’m a state fair Hoosier. I just happen to be a Hoosier of the Muslim faith.”

Carson will be sworn in shortly but will also immediately face the task of holding the seat, with several well-established Democrats poised to run against him for the Dem nomination for the fall campaign.

Ellison co-hosted a Washington fund-raiser for Carson and attended another.

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Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 03/12/2008 - 12:01 pm.
    Second Muslim elected to Congress

  2. Submitted by John E Iacono on 03/13/2008 - 07:36 pm.

    I’m having some trouble understanding why we seem to find it noteworthy that someone who is muslim is elected to office. Or asian-descent. Or mormon. Or jewish. Or catholic. Or black. Or any other of the huge variety of human characteristics that make up our melting pot population.

    I have to keep fighting the urge to think that perhaps each highlighted distinctive characteristic is pounced upon as a way to point out — in a negative way — that the person is different from the “accepted” — and usually unspoken — norms.

    “A man’s a man for a’that…”

    But to affect my view of him or her, you need to tell me about his/her record, opinions, promises, and general views. THEN I’ll decide whether to be in support or not. Absent that, I hear only hidden prejudice being invoked.

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