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First Muslim in Congress: US Can Defeat Islamophobia

First Muslim in Congress: US Can Defeat Islamophobia

WASHINGTON – Reflecting on 9/11 attacks, Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the congress, who represents Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, has lamented the fact that Muslims are facing more hatred in 2016 than it was on 2001.

“Before that day, America’s Muslim community wasn’t the focus of much political discussion,” Ellison, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who also serves on the Financial Services Committee, wrote in an editorial published by The Washington Post.

“Now, Islam and Muslims are regular topics on talk shows and in headlines, often in a negative light. The political landscape has changed dramatically for America’s Muslim community — for better and worse.

The Muslim Congressman compared the motto raised after 2001 attacks, “United We Stand”, to the dividing atmosphere triggered by 2016 presidential elections.

“A recent study by the Bridge Initiative found that anti-Muslim crimes have increased during this election season, with 2015 having the most anti-Muslim violence and vandalism of any year since 9/11,” he wrote.

“Looking at the data, there is a clear uptick in anti-Muslim crime associated with the rise of Donald Trump.”

Meanwhile, Ellison highlighted some aspects showed a slight change of hate tide, led by President Barack Obama and the Democratic party.

“On the good side, President Obama just nominated America’s first Muslim federal judge, Abid Qureshi. Ibtihaj Muhammad just won an Olympic bronze medal in fencing – hijab and all,” he wrote.

The Democratic National convention also witnessed a breakthrough of Muslim activism.

“Seven Muslims addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, including the electrifying presentation of Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan,” Ellison added.

“Thirty-three-year-old Ilhan Omar, who lived in a Somali refugee camp from the ages of 8 to 12, is poised to be elected to the Minnesota state legislature on a decidedly progressive platform. And today’s Muslim community is voting, running for office, opening businesses and starting health clinics like never before.”

While Trump, Frank Gaffney and Pam Geller pushed anti-Muslim sentiment, American Muslims showed patriotism.

“Throughout all this, the Muslim community has shown an incredible amount of poise and patriotism. So much so that Daesh (known as the Islamic State by some) has put out a list of Muslim Americans they want to kill because of their service to our country. I am one of them,” Ellison wrote.

“The 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks should remind us of lessons learned long ago: The best way to overcome darkness is with light. And despite so much negativity, people are responding. During Ramadan in June, many of my neighbors in the Twin Cities, most of whom were not Muslim, posted yard signs saying, “To our Muslim neighbors, blessed Ramadan.”

“Let’s follow their example, and turn to each other, not on each other.”


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