Monday, January 08, 2007

Jefferson's Koran

So Keith Ellison has been elected the first Muslim member of the American Congress. He wanted to take his oath of office not on a Bible, but on a Koran and asked to use the one that used to belong to Thomas Jefferson. lgf is not pleased:

The lefties are all crowing about the huge political points they think Ellison gained by using Thomas Jefferson’s Koran.

But I have a Koran too.
Not just the lefties, however. Egyptian blogger the Sandmonkey wrote:
An african American who converted to Islam gets elected to congress and gets sworn in on the Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Tell me that isn't cool!

Only in America, man. Only in America!
And in a later post the pro-American Sandmonkey predicted:
The same people who were so excited about Keith Ellison voted into congress are not going to be as excited when they know of his stances on the Middle East!
If we follow the link, we read, on Ellison's website:
Right now Hamas represents the greatest obstacle to this path, and until Hamas denounces terrorism, recognizes the absolute right of Israel to exist peacefully and honors past agreements, it cannot be considered legitimate partners in this process... At this point the Palestinian Authority (PA) has yet to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank. The United States cannot support any government that condones or embraces terrorism... The other serious threat to the security of the region is Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. This must be stopped.
lgf has now acknowledged there may be more to Ellison that met their eye initially.

Ellison's election and his subsequent request to swear his oath of office on the Koran was met with a deluge of criticism from bloggers and other, including Rep. Virgil Goode, who said it was an attack on American values. Asking for a book that linked with one of America's founding fathers is hardly an attack. What's going on here?

While immigrants can't demand that the host society change to accommodate them, integration is a two way street. At the very least, the host population has to open itself to the possibility of the integration of immigrants. Integration doesn't mean the annihilation of migrant culture, or their exclusion from elective office, it means the melting pot.

But Ellison isn't an immigrant, he's an American who converted to Islam and he wanted to swear on a book that is holy to him, yet in doing so to link himself with the oldest traditions of his country. But a vocal part of American society isn't even open to that, because he's a Muslim. The message has been clear: you're wrong because you're a Muslim, period. Where does that leave Muslim immigrants whose sense of belonging might be less well developed than that of the new Congressman?

Do you want them to integrate or not?

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