WASHINGTON – Addressing the dilemmas that confront American Muslim citizens, the only two Muslim representatives in Congress have called on Muslims to participate in politics to defend themselves and influence US political and social life successfully.
“Despite everything Republicans say, the story of the American Muslim community is quite positive,” Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison said, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday, March 3.
Ellison, the first ever Muslim congressman, was addressing a panel at Washington-based Diyanet Center of America.
The panel, organized by the US branch of Independent Businessman Association (MUSIAD USA) and non-profit Prince George’s County Muslim Council, included the participation of Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana
It was held hours after the results of Super Tuesday vote showed a huge rise for anti-Muslim Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Ellison warned that despite the growing Muslim population, their participation in politics remained limited.
“We want each of you to run for politics,” he added, suggesting that the best way to do that was to get involved at the state or county level.
A bigger role should be shouldered by Muslim members of Congress to voice the contributions of the Muslim community, he added.
Indiana representative Carson called on Muslims not to hide their identity, suggesting expressing it more openly in order to show that Muslims are a constitutive part of America.
“After 9/11 we had no Muslim to represent us,” he said.
“Then we realized how important it was to have some people who could voice our concerns, or problems.”
As Trump hateful rhetoric gains ground every day, the Indiana representative said, Muslims should act responsibly and go to polls for the presidential primaries and for the election in November.
“We don’t have luxury to stay away from politics,” Carson said, noting that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the US.
Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to Pew Research center.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have flared by Republican presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson.
Trump’s views on immigration have sparked controversy nationwide, especially his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US.