Keith Ellison First Muslim Congressman

Barring tragedy, conversion, or an upset of monumental proportions in November, Keith Ellison will become the first Muslim Member of Congress next January.

Democrats in Minnesota’s strongly Democratic 5th Congressional District put history into motion by nominating state Rep. Keith Ellison in Tuesday’s primary — all but guaranteeing that he will become the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Ellison’s virtually certain victory in November also would make him the first African-American to represent Minnesota in the 110th Congress, and one of a small handful of black lawmakers who represent districts with sizable white majorities. The 5th, which includes all of Minneapolis and much of its suburbs, has a population that is about 70 percent non-Hispanic white.

The winner of the November election will succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, who never had a close race over his 14-term career. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry took 71 percent of the 5th District vote in 2004.

It’s especially interesting that this took place in Minneapolis than Dearborn, Michigan or another city with a large Muslim population.

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James Joyner
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  1. chuck says:

    there’s actually a large Somali population in the Twin Cities, which no doubt helped, but it was really his politics not his religion that won him the primary.

  2. lunacy says:

    According to the bio on his website, he is from Dearborn originally.

  3. McGehee says:

    I just read this morning — CQ? — that Ellison’s “Muslim” label refers to Nation of Islam.

    Which has even less to do with actual Islam than (we’re told) does al Qaeda.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I was wondering about that when I saw he was African American. I’d agree, Nation of Islam isn’t really Islam in any traditional sense.

  5. John Burgess says:

    Nation of Islam was welcomed into the general Islamic fold sometime during the 1980s. They toned down some of their “stranger” (to orthodox Muslims) beliefs.

  6. Anderson says:

    Nation of Islam was welcomed into the general Islamic fold sometime during the 1980s.

    I suspect that Osama and Zawahiri would consider them eminently beheadable nonetheless.

  7. David Nick says:

    The 5th congressional district here in Minnesota is where Ellison won the primary. It won’t surprise ANY of you that the Congressional Area is predominately a Urban area of Hennepin County.

    That being said, Ellison has had a very questionable legal background. In otherwords, hasn’t been the poster child for ethics and morality let alone very law abiding.

    I suspect that many of the 5th district constituents relate to his shenanigans hence his landslide win during the primary.

    “Why not, we’re thugs, let’s vote one in”???

  8. Sissy Willis says:

    He was born Catholic and converted during his angry-young-man years:

    It’s possible he sees his own identity as being American

  9. salah issa says:

    He was part of nation of Islam, but then reverted to Islam. I congratulate him, and I hope he wins.