MINNEAPOLIS — While there is no such thing as a sure thing in politics, congressional candidate Keith Ellison is a good bet to join the freshman class of 2006 in the US House of Representatives.

If he does, Ellison, who is the Democratic nominee in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, will take the oath of office with his hand on the Koran and not the Bible — the first Muslim in American history to be elected to Congress.

Though he publicly downplays his faith, it helped boost Ellison past two local party heavyweights to capture the nomination. In the primary, his campaign triggered a record turnout among Minneapolis’s largely Muslim Somali community. . .

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Muslims abroad have called him about Ellison’s historic bid for office.

“People are asking, ‘Is it true?'” Awad said. “He’s showing not only America but the world” that things are changing and Muslims can be accepted in America. “He’s a breath of fresh air in this time of tension and suspicion.”


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