INDIANAPOLIS – André Carson is the first Muslim to sit on the House Intelligence Committee in the US. That alone is a very big deal.
Raised in a Baptist family and educated in Catholic schools, Carson converted to Islam when he was 16. He was arrested in 1991 by Indianapolis police as they tried to enter his local mosque without probable cause, CNN reported.
The experience helped motivate Carson to become a police officer himself, and he gravitated toward counter-intelligence work.
“Having been a Muslim who was targeted by law enforcement as a young man, and having worked in counterintelligence as a police officer, I offer a unique perspective” on the tensions between safety and civil rights, Carson says.
Now a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Carson is one of two Muslims in Congress, where he represents Indiana’s 7th District since 2008.
Carson is the author of H.R. 3147, the Young Adults Financial Literacy Act, which was introduced on July 9, 2009. This legislation would establish a grant program to fund partnerships between educational institutions aimed at providing financial literacy education to young adults and families.
The Muslim official has supported investment in the development of new technologies that will reduce American dependence on foreign oil, create thousands of new jobs and begin to correct the adverse environmental effects of fossil fuels.
Moreover, Carson has opposed legislation to increase offshore drilling for oil or natural gas, instead of promoting the use of solar, wind, biofuel, biomass, and other renewable fuels.
He’s also known for opposing taxes both on the medical device industry and employer-provided health insurance plans as a means to pay for health care reform.
Instead, he has called for finding savings in the current health system by reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare system, as well as implementing a surcharge on the wealthiest Americans as a means to cover the costs of reform.