Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) gave a speech yesterday to a crowd in Dearborn, Michigan, home to a large Muslim community. According to an account in the Detroit Free Press,
"You can't back down, you can't chicken out, you can't be afraid, you got to have faith in Allah, and you got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause.
"Allahu akbar" - God is great - was the reply of many in the crowd.
I anxiously await the response of the New York Times, the ACLU, and other decriers of any hint of God talk on the part of politicians - at least when the God in question is mentioned in a Judeo-Christian context. Will we hear talk of a nascent "theocracy" from them? Somehow, I doubt it. Can you magine thecoverage which might be given to an evangelical Christian newly elected to Congress giving a similar speech, and receiving s similar response?
Ellison said in Dearborn that Muslims can help teach America about justice and equal protection, suggesting that Muslim activists may be part of God's plan. He spoke at the annual convention of two Muslim groups, the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America. The convention ended Monday morning.
"Muslims, you're up to bat right now..." he said. "How do you know that you were not brought right here to this place to learn how to make this world better? How do you know that Allah, sallalahu aleyhi wasallam," (meaning peace be upon him) "did not bring you here so that you could understand how to teach people what tolerance was, what justice was?... How do you know that you're not here to teach this country?"
Perhaps Rep.-elect Ellison would care to teach us about justice when it comes to women's standing as witnesses in court, and in respect to inheritance rights. I am particularly curious as to his probably acceptance as a good Muslim of Quranic injunctions that women count as less than men in regard to these points.
I eagerly await the National Organization for Women's take on the subject.