By Imam Abdullah El-Amin
Keith Ellison, former Detroiter and now newly-elected congressman from Minnesota, is a person we can all be proud of as the first Muslim United States Congressman
I am especially proud of him as I had the honor of giving him Shahada as he declared himself a Muslim over 20 years ago at the Muslim Center in Detroit. I also had the distinct honor of being officiating imam at the marriage of he and his wife, Kim. The marriage has flourished and blossomed and they are now the proud parents of four beautiful children
The Shahada declaration has also flourished as he is a fine example of what Islam is all about. He carries himself with such dignity in the face of the most ignorant Islamaphobia I have ever witnessed. This coming from what is supposed to be intelligent leaders of our society. When you look at the likes of Dennis Prager, a talk show host known for his bashing of anything Muslim or Arab, and Virgil Goode, ironically a member of congress himself, who really showed their hateful ignorance and bias when they insulted Keith for declaring he would take his oath of office placing his hand on the Qurâ€™an rather than the Bible.
Looking at their gross and deep hate it is easy to see how people like that could hang Black people from trees, gather at the base of the tree with the person still hanging from the tree, and eat food and take smiling pictures, with their wives, sons, and daughters in attendance. And then wonâ€™t apologize. Gross ignorance knows no boundaries.
The Qurâ€™an is the book that Keith Ellison, I, and over a billion and a half other Muslims, use for guidance every day. Keith Ellison, like me, chose to be Muslim. Keith Ellison, like me, tries to live the true principles of the religion. So I am also personally offended at the words of Prager and Goode as they so insolently and abrasively attacked the pure scriptures of G-d in such an evil manner.
It is evident that the values the Qurâ€™an espouses are what make a true follower stand out and be admired. There is no other way to explain how, with all the negative publicity about Islam, people of other faiths put a follower of that religion in office. It wasnâ€™t because he is a Muslim â€“ but rather in spite of it. This should also be a lesson to those who think violence and hatred is the way to lift up Islam. The tactics of those who perpetrate deadly violence hurt Islam and only serve to make people fear you and hate you.
On another note, I would ask my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to keep Brother Keith in our prayers. ALLAH has placed him in the spotlight of the world and is using him for a very special purpose. Letâ€™s also give him a little room as he gets adjusted to his new office. You know how each of us (me included) would like to claim him as â€œour own.â€ But letâ€™s first let him find out where the lunchroom and bathroom is before we start bombarding him. He has a lot of weight on his shoulders now and needs all the help he can get from us, and that help can sometimes meanâ€¦ no help..
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin