Second Muslim elected to US Congress

By staff writers
March 13, 2008

A Democrat has become the second Muslim to be elected to the US Congress.

Indiana Democrat Andre Carson will replace his late grandmother in representing that state's 7th district.

Carson, a convert to Islam and only the second Muslim in Congress, won yesterday's special election with 54 percent of the vote. He must now win both a May primary election and the November general election to serve a full term in Congress.

"We offer congratulations to Representative Carson, whose election demonstrates the strength of our political system and the growing positive role of American Muslims in our society," said Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Corey Saylor. He said the other Muslim in Congress is Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Saylor also noted that the political participation of American Muslims is increasing. Just this week, Muslims from around the nation held more than 70 Capitol Hill meetings with representatives and congressional staffers. Those meetings focused on issues such as racial profiling, citizenship delays and anti-hunger initiatives.

The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group recently led a four-week effort that produced more than 17,000 constituent letters on the issue of Israel's blockade of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The first and only other Muslim member of the US Congress is Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, also a Democrat, who is in his first term.

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