(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first African-American elected to the House from Minnesota, said Thursday that when some accuse President Barack Obama of being a Muslim, it’s “as if it’s something to be ashamed of or wrong,” but there’s really “nothing wrong with being a Muslim.”
“A not-so-uncommon form of attacking the president has been to question not only where he was born, but his faith, and often that’s by saying he’s a Muslim. Can you talk to me about that, and as a Muslim-American, how does that make you feel?” a reporter asked at the press conference by the American Muslim Democratic Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
“It, of course, has been said that the president is a Muslim. In fact, it’s not so much said as it’s made as an accusation, as if it’s something to be ashamed of or wrong,” Ellison said.
“We think that there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim at all, and in fact, I don’t think I can improve on what [former Secretary of State] Colin Powell said about it, which is … when President Obama was elected the first time, he endorsed him, and he said, the question is not whether or not Obama is a Muslim - he’s a Christian, and he is one, but there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim,” he said.
“And as Sister Hussein already pointed out correctly, the blood of Muslim Americans has been spilled in defense of this nation as well. And we are part of this nation, claim our heritage and piece of America proudly,” Ellison said.
“And it terms of how, it makes us feel. Of course we’re a little saddened when people want to cast Islam in a negative light, but our response is to assert the positive and to affirm our heritage and rights and support of the United States, knowing full well that the people who want you to try to divide Americans on the basis of religion will fail eventually,” he added.