American Muslims are excited about the prospect of Andre Carson becoming the second Muslim elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives according to a story by the AP's Ken Kusmer. He writes today:
Corey Saylor, legislative director for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said [Keith] 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," Saylor said.
He predicted immigrant Muslims will join African-Americans such as Ellison and 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," Saylor said. "Give them five or 10 years."
Despite moral outrage in the 7th District over the Carson family's decision to allow the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan speak at his late grandmother's funeral, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, Andre Carson sees no drawback in his affiliation as a Muslim. "Carson, 33, said that he does not believe his religious identity hurts him politically, even while American Muslims struggle to gain acceptance," Kusmer writes. "I think it's more of an advantage," 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."
Despite his claims of inclusion, Carson saw no reason to apologize for Louis Farrakhan's eulogy at his grandmother's funeral or the bigoted and anti-Semitic religious leader's endorsement of his candidacy to succeed his grandmother in Congress. "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," Kusmer writes. "Carson 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." Sorry, Andre, that just doesn't wash. You personally helped oversee the funeral arrangements for your grandmother and had no objection to Farrakhan speaking. That was more than even your own campaign treasurer, Erin Rosenberg, could take. She walked out during his eulogy.
The funny part of this AP story is that, although Kusmer writes for the AP in Indiana, this story appears in the Contra Costa Times instead of an Indiana newspaper. So much for the editorial censoring of our local news media to protect Carson.