Current Weather
The Spy FM

Rep. Keith Ellison Wonders Why ‘People Care’ About His Muslim Faith

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
February 28, 2014

Representative Keith Ellison became the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in 2006, and the first person of color elected to represent Minnesota in the national legislature. Along the way he’s confronted questions about his faith, patriotism, and even some unpaid parking tickets that nearly derailed his first campaign. He talks about all that in his new book, My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future.

Interview Highlights

On the controversy over swearing in with a Quran

It did not occur to me that it would be a problem, you know? I don’t know what that reflects about me, but when I was asked the question, my primary concern was getting voters out to the polls, not what I was going to swear in on. I hadn’t even assumed that I would be swearing in on anything, because the election had not come. And so, I said “well yeah sure, of course I’ll swear in on the Quran.” Because it occurs to me that if your elected official is one who would want to swear in on a holy book, you’d want them to swearing on a holy book they profess to, right? Because that’s what makes the oath solemn.

On giving tearful testimony at the House of Representatives

It started out very calm, I was fine. But as I just started thinking about [Mohammad Salman Hamdani, who died during the 9/11 attacks], his mother, so many people I’ve known who’ve been yanked off airplanes, had their hjiabs pulled off their head, been stabbed, and had their mosques defaced, and been opposed by zoning commissions, I don’t know. Maybe it was just all that that came together in my mind in that moment. I don’t know what came over me. I remember when I was done feeling embarrassed and wanting to get out of there. [Copyright 2014 NPR]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center