Theodore's World: Islam Convert Seeks A Seat In Congress

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February 17, 2008

Islam Convert Seeks A Seat In Congress

Islam convert seeks a seat in Congress

Washington Times


A convert to Islam stands an election victory away from becoming the second Muslim elected to Congress and a role model for a faith community seeking to make its mark in national politics.

Political newcomer Andre Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11 special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana's 7th District.

She died in December of lung cancer, and her grandson is seeking to fill out the rest of her sixth term, which expires at year's end.

If Andre Carson wins the Democratic-leaning Indianapolis district over a freshman Republican lawmaker and a longshot Libertarian candidate, he would join Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, as the only Muslims elected to Congress.

Mr. Carson, 33, said he doesn't believe his religious identity hurts him politically even while American Muslims struggle to gain acceptance. Polling last summer by the Pew Research Center and Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 29 percent of Americans held unfavorable views of Muslim Americans, a higher percentage than shortly after September 11, 2001.

"I think it's more of an advantage," Mr. Carson said. "It's a platform to address ignorance. It's a platform to really show that this campaign is about inclusion of all races and religions."

However, Mr. Carson said his faith doesn't drive his stands on issues, other than instilling the values that have shaped his life and led him to public service. He said his decision-making is based on his constituents' needs.

"For me, the religion piece, it informs me. You need to respect people" regardless of their race, religion or gender, said Mr. Carson, who is black. "That is the foundation I go by."

Mr. Carson's grandmother raised him in a Baptist church and enrolled him at an inner-city Catholic school, where he entertained the idea of becoming a priest. As he grew older, he became interested in Islam, reading the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

He converted to Islam more than a decade ago and began attending prayers at Nur-Allah Islamic Center, a predominantly African-American Sunni mosque.

"For me, what appealed to me about Islam was the universal aspect of Islam," he said. "All faiths teach universality. But with Islam, I saw it regularly in the [mosques], the praying, the different races."

After Julia Carson died Dec. 15, Louis Farrakhan delivered a eulogy at her funeral, leading some local political bloggers to question Andre Carson's ties to the controversial Nation of Islam leader.

He said the ties barely exist: His mosque is not affiliated with the Nation of Islam. He said he approves of some of the group's work, including fighting drug use in Indianapolis.

Unlike many U.S. Muslims, Mr. Carson said his faith rarely has become an issue for others in his civic life or law enforcement career that included a stint with an anti-terrorism unit of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Carson and Mr. Ellison spoke by telephone recently, and the Minnesota congressman who took office 13 months ago said he advised Mr. Carson to emphasize broad concerns such as the economy, the war in Iraq and global warming.

"These things don't have any particular religion or color or race," Mr. Ellison said.

Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, said both men built their political base by gaining the confidence of Democratic leaders, not by running on their religion.

However, he said they need to demonstrate their faith to Muslim youth and show that civic engagement among Muslims is healthy.

"It counters any sense of isolation or alienation," Mr. Al-Marayati said.

Corey Saylor, legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Mr. Ellison's 2006 election marked a breakthrough for U.S. Muslims seeking national office.

"Post-9/11, there was a sense in the community that it would be hard for a Muslim to get elected," Mr. Saylor said.

He predicted immigrant Muslims will join black Americans like Mr. Ellison and Mr. Carson on the national political scene. Sons and daughters of Muslims who arrived in the United States from Asia and Africa are energized politically and working on campaigns, he said.

"We see people starting to build up the civic resume that will get them elected to public office," Mr. Saylor said. "Give them five or 10 years."

Even if Mr. Carson wins the special election next month and serves the remainder of his grandmother's term, he almost immediately will face a challenge to hold the seat. The May 6 Democratic primary for the seat's next full term has attracted several candidates.

Wild Thing's comment........

Please God help us and don't let Islam take over our country.

I have noticed with most things that are bad like the things the left does, they do it inch by inch. They worm their way into things, vote on things that change our country drastically little by little.

One Muslim, Keith Ellison ( just one of his many names) get's elected and now here is a second one wanrting to get elected as well. One at a time then one day those with their head in the sand will say when did all this happen. How did we get so many Muslim's in political offices of power over 'we the people' .

If I remember right Political Correctness began back in the 60's. I have spoken before how I heard my Dad talking about it at home one evening and I asked him what does it mean. He explained it to me and said it will be something that in the future will be destroying American. It will take away much of our freedom of speech.

This is the same thing, getting Muslims in at a time, easing them in on Capitol Hill.

Posted by Wild Thing at February 17, 2008 01:47 AM


Yes, inch by inch, year by year. It will not take that long before we have Europe's problems with moslems.

Right now Carson states that his islamic religion would have no bearing on his politics except as a unifying force. Then, of course there will have to be an islamic Congressional Caucus even if it only has two members. As more moslems are elected the caucus becomes demanding, and accuses everyone else of discrimination.

Like a lot of moslem coverts Carson has a background of different religions and Nation of Islam ties, kind of like presidential candidate Obama. islam is effective infiltrating America. I think this is why we have not been attacked again. We are peacefully allowing it to happen.

Posted by: TomR at February 17, 2008 05:45 AM

I'm so sick and tired of hearing they have the advantage. It ticked me off when Ellison took the oath on the Koran.
I'm so sick of Americans with blinders on.
Get real people! This is how Islam will take us--inch by inch. They're kind of like that song, "just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..." and then they turn into something we didn't expect. Socialism is the same way--nice until they have you.
Why blow us up when you can just hand us over by an act of congress?

Posted by: Lynn at February 17, 2008 06:47 AM

I guess he is supported by CAIR too. The democrats are by far the most vile party our country has ever seen.

It is all about being a democrat and what new entitlement program can they give away to get more votes to keep the people dependant.

Posted by: Mark at February 17, 2008 11:51 AM

There was a time that freedom of religion didn't matter, a time when I treated all as equal. It does matter now!!! Hell no!!!
Let the Democrat's practice that Separation of Church and State clause they so vehemently toss about. What's wrong with the nation, we have 70 plus acknowledged socialists in the House and all those who have graduated into the Senate, is it no wonder we have the Communists running for the highest office of the land? It's because we tolerate the practice. This is why the GOP is getting it's head handed back to them by the conservatives.

Posted by: Jack at February 17, 2008 11:59 AM

Tom I think that is so true. Perhaps they see how easy it is to get their people elected and are just waiting, things are being done for them to take over with no one stopping them.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2008 06:40 PM

Lynn....."Why blow us up when you can just hand us over by an act of congress?"....yes it sure seems that is the plan.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2008 06:42 PM

Mark, I will never understand why a person wants to be dependent on the government. I know tons of people do, but how on earth can they feel good about an honest job and pay for the day when they just keep their hand out the gimme' mentality.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2008 06:45 PM

Jack yes and that is just what is happening, and it infuriates me even more like you said that the GOP has been one of the enablers of the left's agenda.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2008 06:50 PM

I chatted with patriot Brigitte Gabriel and she said the Muslims are infiltrating America by targeting the red states and universities too. Look at Virginia and Tennessee... Al-Qaeda has there jihad act together and never forget Operation Holy Tuesday (9-11-01) only cost KLM $500,000 ! ... $500,000 and mace and box cutters took Lady Liberty down to her knees in three hours and in three states! And these islamofascists have the ACLU and Code Pinkos and NAACP to defend them? And the media outlets and university professors too?

Posted by: drstrangeloveb52isok at February 18, 2008 12:06 AM

That is so neat, Brigitte Gabriel has been so wonderful to get information out and make some noise about the enemy. I am proud of her.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 18, 2008 03:05 AM